New China-Europe rail services on track to steal air and sea freight volumes

By Alex Lennane

2017 will be the year that China-Europe rail services shift supply chain patterns. As the first train from China rolled into London on January 17, having left on New Year’s day, the CEO of Kazakhstan’s dry inland port, Khorgos Gateway, told The Loadstar the services would eat into sea and air freight volumes. “We now have two trains per day, with about 80 TEUs and 41 containers per train,” explained Karl Gheysen. “It runs three times a week to Duisburg, but we also have services to the Netherlands, Madrid, Iran and now the UK. “The capacity is 540,000 TEUs a year, but we could make it a million.”

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Truckers bite into the rail operators’ share of North American intermodal traffic

By Alexander Whiteman

Intermodal traffic on North America’s railways lost out to cheaper trucking alternatives last year. More haulage capacity opened up, pushing full-year revenues at intermodal operators down across the board. Of the six major North American railroads, only Norfolk Southern (NS) and Canadian National (CN) reported volume growth. Warren Buffet-owned BNSF does not report its numbers.

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CN and CP announce Q4 and 2016 year-end results

Both of Canada’s major railways announced results for the period ended December 31, and for the second year in a row, the effects of a sputtering economy were well in evidence.

Although fourth quarter revenues were up 1.6 per cent, CN’s revenues for the year declined by 4.5 per cent to $12.03 billion. However, because of tight control over expenses, operating income for both the quarter and the year were up. In fact, operating expenses as a percentage of revenues declined steeply from 58.2 per cent to 55.8 per cent during the year, a new record, as far as we can tell. Net income for the year rose 2.9 per cent to $3.64 billion. Cash flow from operations increased by 1.2 per cent to $5.20 billion. “Free” cash flow, the amount remaining from operating cash flow after subtracting net investments made during the year and dividends paid to investors, declined slightly to $1.43 billion.

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Increasing safety of Canadians by investing in rail improvements

The federal government is increasing its investment, and expanding eligibility criteria to reduce injuries and fatalities, and increase public safety around the railway system. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced the new Rail Safety Improvement Program with over $55 million in funding. This new program increases overall funding, expands the list of eligible recipients and broadens the scope of projects that could be funded to enhance rail safety.

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CP Holiday Train ready to support communities

The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train, a rolling fundraising event that travels across Canada and the United States, is back for its 18th year in an effort to raise money, food and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. Since its launch in 1999, the program has raised more than C$12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food for communities along CP’s routes in Canada and the northern U.S.

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CP ready to move delayed grain crop, and establishes supply chain scorecard

Canadian Pacific is ready to move the delayed Western Canadian grain crop to market, and is highlighting supply chain accountability with its supply chain scorecard. “We have all the assets in place to move the crop to market, but given wet weather, snow and other factors, the vast majority of the crop is not yet ready to move,” said CP’s CEO, E. Hunter Harrison. “While CP is just one part of the global supply chain, we are taking a leadership role in ensuring the supply chain works together so that the Canadian economy – including farmers and shippers – reaps maximum benefit.”

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CN and CP announce third quarter results

Both of Canada’s major railways announced third quarter results for the period ended September 30. This time, the slow growth economy and low oil prices caught up with them, resulting in declining revenues. However, as a testament to the ability of both carriers to keep their eyes closely focused on the ball, cash flow generated from operations declined only nominally, and CN was able to achieve record low operating ratios.

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