SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN said on Sept. 25 that CN's capacity to invest in continued improvements in rail transportation to support Saskatchewan's thriving economy requires a sound, commercially-driven regulatory regime.
Mongeau, speaking to the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, said Saskatchewan's economy is booming – the province's real gross domestic product is expected to grow much faster than Canada's this year, powered by strong grain and fertilizer production, a growing energy franchise and a solid manufacturing base.
CN has responded to this growth – CN traffic originating in Saskatchewan is up 65% since 2009 – by investing ahead of the curve in capacity improvements, including more than C$100 million spent on extended sidings, double-track and yards along its Edmonton-Saskatoon-Winnipeg corridor. CN is also hiring aggressively; its employee base in Saskatchewan is 40% higher than it was five years ago.
Mongeau said CN's investments have helped it efficiently haul more freight, including Saskatchewan's large share of the unprecedented 2013-14 grain crop in Western Canada.
"CN posted a record performance in the 2013-14 crop year. Our movement of Western Canadian grain was a full 25% greater than past average performance," he said. "Today, as a result of hard work and normal commercial incentives, the grain supply chain is back in synch and we are ready to handle the new crop efficiently."
"We firmly believe the federal government should pursue sound policies that foster a balanced regulatory regime for railways and encourage commercial innovation, supply chain collaboration and continued investment. In the end, such tried and tested market pillars are critical to a rail industry that builds the resources and infrastructure required to support Saskatchewan's fast-growing economy."