MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA — Shipments of grain and fertilizer helped power Canadian National Railway (CN) to a record of C$4.31 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2023, up C$605 million (16%) year over year for the three months ended March 31. Operating income also was a record C$1.66 billion, an increase of C$435 million (35%).

In its April 24 financial report, the Class I North American railroad credited higher fuel surcharge revenue as a result of higher fuel prices, higher export volumes of Canadian grain, freight rate increases and the positive translation impact of a weaker Canadian dollar with its improved performance, which was partly offset by lower intermodal volumes.

The grain and fertilizers segment generated C$861 million for the first quarter, up 43% from C$604 million in 2022. CN noted crop production for marketing year 2022-23 in Canada and the United States was in line with each country’s three-year average, and it anticipates that trend will continue in 2023-24.

CN said it expects growth of adjusted diluted earnings per share in the mid-single digits this year compared to 2022, up from a low single-digit target set in January.

“We are very proud of our performance this quarter,” said Tracy Robinson, president and chief executive officer, CN. “We remain confident in our long-term growth despite current economic uncertainty. Our updated guidance reflects the strength of our scheduled operating model and its ability to drive strong operational results. For the immediate future, we remain focused on running our plan and providing reliable service to our customers.”

CN transports more than 300 million tonnes of natural resources, manufactured products and finished goods throughout North America annually. CN’s network connects Canada’s eastern and western coasts with the United States south through a 18,600-mile rail network.