Tuesday, May 03, 2011

CN's scheduled potash trains cut car cycle times

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Canadian National customers continue to reap benefits from the railroad's system-wide productivity push. Scheduled potash rains provide the latest evidence.

"CN's Scheduled Potash Service is the next chapter in our supply chain collaboration agenda, mirroring our Scheduled Grain Service and our comprehensive management of coal movements from Western Canadian mines to export terminals," says Jean-Jacques Ruest, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer.

"By scheduling potash service, we have reduced car cycle times for privately owned hoppers from mine to destination and return to mine for loading by approximately 25% - a huge gain in efficiency for both CN and our customers. This improvement helps our potash customers get to market faster and move more bulk product. CN has also benefited from the additional capacity provided by these efficiency gains."

As CN describes it: "The service is focused on an end-to-end management of the supply chain in collaboration with customers. To drive new efficiencies, CN innovated with a tool giving sales and operations personnel clear visibility to customer orders for planning rail assets and scheduling shipments. With this approach, CN is working closely with its customers to minimize delays, expedite shipments, and provide supply chain balance between placing empties and picking up loads.

"CN also instituted a new potash fleet management team to work with customers to improve distribution of empty private hopper cars to mines for reloading. This initiative, with locomotives cycling between CN's potash hub in Winnipeg and mines in Saskatchewan, has reduced switching requirements and car dwell times at terminals. As a result, CN has significantly reduced car cycles from mine to destination and return."