EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA — The Canadian harvest is getting underway and CN is ready to meet the demand, the rail company said on Sept. 1.

Earlier this year, CN introduced a plan that dramatically increased the reliability of its grain service. CN applied precision scheduling to grain car deliveries, setting up operating protocols so that cars arrive at specific elevators at scheduled times on scheduled days every week. At the same time, grain handling companies agreed to operate some country and waterfront facilities on a seven-day-per-week basis, eliminating the weekly peaks and valleys in car flows that result from weekend shutdowns.

The plan has resulted in fundamental improvement in system reliability, CN said. Over the last six months, CN consistently achieved more than a 90% success rate in delivering the specified cars, to the specified elevator, on the specified day. This translates into predictable service to the grain industry. CN said grain companies now can better schedule their staff at country elevators and waterfront export terminals. Sales can be made with the assurance the grain will be where it is needed. This increase in scheduled reliability means a better export program, CN asserted.

"This is a win-win for the entire industry — Canadian farmers, handlers, exporters and CN," said Michael Cory, senior vice-president for Western Canada. "Through service innovation and increased efficiency in the overall supply chain, we are able to better serve our customers while increasing reliability and consistency on our network."

As the 2010 harvest gets underway, CN will apply the same principles that made the movement of last year's grain crop so steady.

"Our customers are telling us that they like how our scheduled grain plan works," said Cory. "They've noticed a major increase in our reliability and want us to keep it that way."

CN believes the introduction of this new plan is a significant step forward in the evolution of the grain handling transportation system. CN is committed to working with its supply chain partners to further enhance the ability to meet customer needs and support the growth of Canadian grain exports in the world market.