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CN investing in 1,000 new generation grain hopper cars to renew fleet and meet long-term needs of farmers

MONTREAL, May 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CN (TSX:CNR) (NYSE:CNI) today announced that it plans to acquire 1,000 new generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields.

“This substantial investment in higher capacity payload hopper cars, with up to 10 per cent more capacity than the older generation, demonstrates our commitment to safely, efficiently and reliably moving the steadily increasing Prairie grain crop for our customers,” said JJ Ruest, interim president and chief executive officer of CN. “We clearly understand how important having an effective grain supply chain is to our nation’s reputation as a stable trade partner. With this week’s news of regulatory certainty, we can now make decisive long-term investments that will benefit the entire grain industry.”

“I am very pleased to hear that CN is using the positive conditions brought in by Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, to invest in new hopper cars.  This decision will help grow the agricultural sector by ensuring farmers are able to reliably get their products to market,” said Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay.

CN is buying new, 55-foot eight-inch jumbo hopper cars with 5,431 cubic feet of capacity. CN’s 12,000-car Western Canadian grain fleet is comprised of CN-owned hoppers, leased cars and private customer equipment. The new hopper cars will allow the phase out of older, lower-capacity cars from the CN-owned and leased fleet, which has an average age of more than 30 years.

“Canada’s grain hopper cars are rolling toward the end of their lives,” said Kyle Jeworski, president and chief executive officer of Viterra. “Over the last several years, Viterra has made significant, targeted investments in its country grain elevator network, and we welcome this major investment and commitment by CN to get Prairie grain to world markets.” 

The cars will be built by National Steel Car Ltd. at the company’s Hamilton plant.

“We are very pleased that CN recognizes the benefits of our industry leading, high efficiency, 5,431-cubic-foot grain hopper car. As a result of this order commitment from CN, National Steel Car’s Hamilton assembly operations will add over 300 new full-time employment opportunities,” said Gregory J. Aziz, chairman and chief executive officer of National Steel Car. “Coupled with CN’s order for 350 centrebeam lumber cars, this additional 1,000 grain car purchase will result in the hiring of more than 550 additional people at our Hamilton facility, which currently employees over 1,500.”

Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek, said: “Thank you very much CN for your strong vote of confidence in Hamilton and its highly-skilled workers. We are extremely proud to have CN in our community and grateful they have chosen National Steel Car to build the rail cars moving the North American economy.”

As part of CN’s $3.4 billion capital program in 2018, the company is investing in new trade-enabling infrastructure this spring and summer, including building $400 million worth of new track and yard capacity to more efficiently handle increased traffic across CN’s West Coast to Chicago corridor.

CN recently purchased 200 new GE locomotives to expand capacity for all customers, the first 60 of which will start to come online in June. Also, this year CN is acquiring 350 new lumber cars and leasing 350 new boxcars to boost our fleet serving forest products and metals business.  

CN continues to hire, and approximately 1,250 more qualified train conductors will be in the field before next winter, compared to the number of conductors available heading into this past winter.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements included in this news release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and under Canadian securities laws. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater uncertainty. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of terminology such as “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “assumes,” “outlook,” “plans,” “targets,” or other similar words.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of the Company to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such statements. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Important risk factors that could affect the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic and business conditions; industry competition; inflation, currency and interest rate fluctuations; changes in fuel prices; legislative and/or regulatory developments; compliance with environmental laws and regulations; actions by regulators; increases in maintenance and operating costs; security threats; reliance on technology and related cybersecurity risk; trade restrictions or other changes to international trade arrangements; transportation of hazardous materials; various events which could disrupt operations, including natural events such as severe weather, droughts, fires, floods and earthquakes; climate change; labor negotiations and disruptions; environmental claims; uncertainties of investigations, proceedings or other types of claims and litigation; risks and liabilities arising from derailments; timing and completion of capital programs; and other risks detailed from time to time in reports filed by CN with securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Reference should be made to Management’s Discussion and Analysis in CN’s annual and interim reports, Annual Information Form and Form 40-F, filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators and available on CN’s website, for a description of major risk factors.

Forward-looking statements reflect information as of the date on which they are made. CN assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect future events, changes in circumstances, or changes in beliefs, unless required by applicable securities laws. In the event CN does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be made that CN will make additional updates with respect to that statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statement.

CN is a true backbone of the economy whose team of approximately 25,000 railroaders transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries – serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information about CN, visit the Company’s website at www.cn.ca.

CN Contacts: 
Media                                                                   Investors
Patrick Waldron Paul Butcher
Senior Manager   Vice-President
Media Relations Investor Relations
(514) 399-8803 (514) 399-0052                                                                                                             

 

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