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Greater supply chain collaboration need: CN CEO

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CN CEO Claude Mongeau  says grain handling companies are signing contracts and ordering rail cars at a rate that far exceeds the system’s capacity.

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CN CEO Claude Mongeau says grain handling companies are signing contracts and ordering rail cars at a rate that far exceeds the system’s capacity.

CN CEO Claude Mongeau was in Winnipeg today with guns blazing, defending his railroad’s record during the great Prairie grain bottleneck of 2014.

In a speech to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Mongeau said he takes exception to the extent that railroads are being blamed for the delays in getting this year’s record crop is to market.

Mongeau said that this week the company will hit all-time levels of grain shipments for this time of the year.

He said the bottleneck is an issue that the entire supply chain needs to address.

"The challenges the grain supply system is facing stem from extreme circumstances – a huge, 100-year crop and the winter of a lifetime," he said.

Among other things he claims that the grain handling companies are as much to blame because they are signing contracts and ordering rail cars at a rate that far exceeds the system’s capacity.

"Greater supply chain collaboration is the only solution, not greater regulation of the railroads," he said.

CN is smarting over regulations included in a piece of legislation scheduled to pass in Ottawa this week that would set certain performance standards in the railroads and would result in stiff penalties if they do not comply.

Mongeau said it is not fair to single out the railroads when the grain companies are just as responsible for the backlog in grain shipments that is only now starting to lessen with the arrival of milder weather.

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