WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Canadian National Railway (CN) and Agri-Food Central Ltd. announced on Oct. 20 an agreement to improve the service delivery performance and consistency of the supply chain for specialty grains moving from Western Canada to Mexico via rail and to other markets including those in Latin America through Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coast ports served by CN.

Under the agreement, CN and Agri-Food Central have agreed to exchange information that will allow the parties to jointly measure rail service and supply chain performance, to cooperate on joint supply chain planning, and establish a process to address any rail service issues.

Doug MacDonald, CN vice-president, corporate marketing, said, "CN continues to sign agreements with customers who are interested in working with us to develop better supply chains that increase end-customer satisfaction."

David Nyznyk, director of supply management for Agri-Food Central, said, "We have developed a close relationship with CN, which is well positioned to serve our needs in reaching export markets for our specialty grains. This supply chain collaboration and continuous improvement agreement with CN will enhance our competitiveness as we grow our penetration of foreign markets."

Agri-Food Central loads bags of lentils, canary seed, flax and peas into 53-foot containers at CN's Winnipeg Intermodal Terminal. CN then hauls the containers by rail to Montreal, Vancouver, Canada, and New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., for export, as well as to Mexico in cooperation with Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS). Containers are interchanged with KCS at Jackson, Mississippi, U.S., and return from Mexico loaded with consumer goods.

MacDonald added: "CN is signing a series of supply chain collaboration agreements that are key to encouraging all stakeholders to achieve improved service levels as well as greater productivity and efficiency. We believe this commercial approach is the right way to move distribution services to the next level."