Canadian National Railway inked performance agreements with ocean terminal operators Maher and DP World at the Prince Rupert and Vancouver ports. The deals assure rail and ocean facilities are on the same page for service and productivity measures.
By The Numbers: Containerized Ocean Trade - Port Metro Vancouver, British Columbia.
CN said one accord was with the Prince Rupert Port Authority and Maher Terminals at the facility that is CN's northernmost West Coast container port.
CN runs intermodal trains from there to Chicago and on to Memphis, Tenn., and said this accord aims to "enhance Prince Rupert's role as a preferred gateway on the West Coast for central Canada and U.S. Midwest markets."
It sets service measures to improve the flow of containers through that port, including specific times for loading and unloading containers between ships and railcars, allowable train dwell times at the terminal and transit times between the port and inland markets.
The railroad had already signed such accords with Port Metro Vancouver and some of its terminal operators in the West, and in the East with the Port of Halifax, the Port of Quebec and some of their terminals. Those follow various earlier customer complaints to federal authorities over rail charges and service issues, including complaints from ports.
The other new service level agreement was with DP World, which operates Vancouver's Centerm Terminal. Vancouver is Canada's main Pacific Ocean gateway for trade between North America and Asia.
CN and DP World "will work closely on all matters related to security, in coordination with the relevant government agencies, with the goal of branding Centerm Terminal . . . as a secure point of entry to North America," the railroad said.
On Sept. 15, CN's president and CEO, Claude Mongeau, told The Journal of Commerce's Canada Maritime conference in Montreal that CN is also working on similar service pacts with the Port of Montreal and terminals there.
"Each player in the supply chain tends to focus on its own performance," which "can lead to finger-point rather than solution-seeking," Mongeau said. But he said with the participants organizing and using the right metrics to measure their performance "finger-pointing goes away."
He also urged supply-chain partners to work with CN, "but don't go to the government at the same time to say that you want more regulations" that he said could leave the industry with less flexibility to succeed.
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