Class I Briefs: CN, CSX, KCS, NSWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
CN registers with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) and is listed on CDP’s 2022 Supplier Engagement Leaderboard. Also, CSX updates its industrial site-selection program; UPS recognizes Kansas City Southern (KCS) for “zero controllable service failures”; Norfolk Southern (NS) donates $250,000 to an Ohio-based nonprofit delivering aid to the East Palestine community; and NS’s acquisition of Cincinnati Southern Railway stalls.
With headquarters in Montreal, Québec, CN has officially registered with the OQLF pursuant to An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec.
“Further to the Act coming into force in 2022, CN management began discussions with the OQLF to voluntarily register the company,” the Class I railroad reported March 16. “As it is subject to the Official Languages Act under its incorporating act, CN is in a unique situation. The discussions held with the OQLF over the past few months sought to find a way to reconcile the obligations under this federal law with CN’s intention to voluntarily register with the OQLF.”
“I welcome CN’s decision to register with the Office québécois de la langue française, as have the vast majority of federally regulated companies with more than 50 employees,” said Jean-François Roberge, Minister of the French Language for the government of Québec. “This registration by a large federally chartered company is very important for Quebec and its French reality. I strongly hope that this step by CN will encourage the few remaining companies to do the same and comply. We must all take strong actions for the French language.”
“French is the official and common language of Quebec and we are proud to do our part in promoting and protecting French,” CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson said.
Separately, CN on March 15 reported via Twitter that it has been named a 2022 Supplier Engagement Leader by CDP, a not-for-profit charity described as running “the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts.” CDP evaluates corporate supply chain engagement on climate issues and produces the Supplier Engagement Rating annually.
By engaging their suppliers on climate change, the leaders recognized in 2022 “are playing a crucial role in the transition towards the net-zero sustainable economy,” according to CDP, which noted that of the 18,500-plus companies disclosing through CDP last year, more than 7,000 reported engaging their suppliers on climate change compared with 915 on water and just over 500 on forests.
In 2022, CN was one of more than 650 companies included on the Supplier Engagement Rating leaderboard, and one of 13 represented in the Transportation Services category.
“Delighted to be recognized by @CDP as a 2022 Supplier Engagement Leader,” CN reported via Twitter. “We continue collaborating with our suppliers on innovative business models to source renewable energy, raising the level of climate action across our value chain.”
CSX on March 15 reported introducing four levels of qualification—Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze—to its industrial site selection program to help companies identify rail-served sites that best align with their needs. All sites will also be included in a searchable inventory, which the Class I railroad said is under development.
Since the CSX Select Site program was launched in 2012 in partnership with Austin Consulting, Select Sites have attracted dozens of manufacturers, with capital investments projected to reach $14 billion and create nearly 11,000 jobs, according to the railroad.
The 13 Select Sites that remain on the market have now been designated as Platinum, offering 100-plus acres for large rail-served industrial facilities, according to CSX. Future Gold, Silver and Bronze sites will be identified using two new tools—Lasso and Site Shepherd—provided through a partnership with Global Location Strategies (GLS). “CSX works with landowners and county economic development organizations to capture the relevant site data in Lasso, which is imported into GLS’ customized location analytic platform, Site Shepherd,” the Class I reported. “Lasso is a proprietary data-collection platform built to retrieve site-specific information from program registrants, including acreage, site characteristics, utility infrastructure and more. Site Shepherd houses an analytics model custom designed to evaluate CSX-served sites for key rail-served industry siting requirements. The platform provides data-driven analytics that empower CSX and its economic development partners to optimize the marketability of these rail-served sites and identify areas of improvement. Additionally, for the first time, CSX, supported by GLS, added considerations for environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, such as those concerning renewable energy, community impacts, and brownfield site reuse.”
Based on the properties’ Site Shepherd score, CSX will designate the top-performing sites as Gold, Silver or Bronze.
“Employing site selection technology streamlines data collection and empowers CSX to self-perform the evaluation; running sites through a custom analytics model and providing a clear roadmap for future investment,” GLS President Didi Caldwell said.
Added Kevin Boone, CSX Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing: “The CSX Select Site program has been a tremendous success and is increasingly in demand by companies seeking to access the advantages of rail for improving supply chain efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and meeting sustainability goals.”
KCS has been recognized by UPS for “zero controllable service failures” during UPS’s 2022 peak package season, the railroad reported in a March 16 LinkedIn post. “KCS is honored to receive this award from UPS,” KCS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mike Naatz reported in the post. “We appreciate every member of the KCS team who made this service performance possible. We especially appreciate the Transportation, Intermodal and Network Operations teams for their hard work during peak season. UPS and KCS have a strong relationship forged in the service KCS provides to UPS and its customers every day.”
NS on March 16 reported donating $250,000 to The Way Station, which has been assisting the East Palestine, Ohio, community since NS’s Feb. 3 train derailment. The Ohio-based nonprofit has provided residents with food, clothing, water, hygiene products, diapers, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to purchase other necessities. After the evacuation order was lifted, the organization brought additional direct support to residents through its satellite office in East Palestine, according to NS. The railroad said its donation will help The Way Station establish a larger, permanent location in the area and hire additional staff, including a social worker. It also brings NS’s total financial commitment to the East Palestine community to approximately $24 million, “with more to come,” according to the railroad.
“We are committed to doing what’s right for East Palestine, all to help the community recover and thrive,” NS President and CEO Alan H. Shaw said. “Through meetings with community leaders, business owners, school officials, clergy, and residents, we are finding ways we can invest in the community’s future and support their long-term needs.”
“We know the needs in East Palestine will change over time, and we want to be there to serve this community over the long term,” The Way Station Executive Director Chaney Nezbeth said. “This donation will allow us to increase our current support with staff and resources. We appreciate Norfolk Southern’s commitment to help us provide folks with what they need, when they need it.”
In other news, NS’s acquisition of the Cincinnati Southern Railway has stalled. According to WCPO Channel 9 in Cincinnati, Ohio, changes to state law are required to advance the $1.6 billion sale, for which NS executed a purchase agreement last fall with the city of Cincinnati.
“The law demands the funds [from the sale] be spent paying off debts, but trustees wanted to put the money into an infrastructure trust for existing maintenance on streets, bridges, parks and more,” according to the media outlet. “[Ohio] House Bill 23 originally included language that would allow the money to be used for infrastructure maintenance, but Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said the bill is expected to be passed in the coming weeks without those changes.” WCPO reported that Cincinnati “is the only municipality in the U.S. to own an interstate railroad. It has been leased by Norfolk Southern since 1981. In 1987, the city renegotiated the terms of the lease for more annual income. That agreement was for $11 million a year with the opportunity for yearly increases. From 2003 to 2008, the Southern Railway Note Proceeds totaled $95.5 million. At this time, the city receives about $25 million annually from Norfolk Southern for its lease, which is set to expire in 2026.”
According to WCPO, the mayor said that the sale is a “top priority” and that he is “committed to working alongside the General Assembly to pass the required legislation that allows the referendum for voters to decide.”
The 337-mile Cincinnati Southern Railway runs between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chattanooga, Tenn. NS reported last year that the acquisition agreement provides the company “ownership of approximately 9,500 acres of land that sits under infrastructure maintained and operated by Norfolk Southern. Further, it ensures Norfolk Southern will own the line in perpetuity, while eliminating uncertainty around future lease costs. The line is one of the highest-density segments of the company’s network, with as many as 30 trains a day traveling the route.” The deal was expected to close in first-half 2024.