CN and Ontario Northland sign routing protocol for Ontario and Quebec freight traffic

by Canadian Shipper

TORONTO, AND NORTH BAY, ONTARIO- CN and Ontario Northland have announced a two-year routing agreement to expedite the transportation of northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec freight traffic.

Under the haulage agreement, CN will pay Ontario Northland a fee to transport its freight traffic between North Bay and Noranda, Que., and between Noranda and Hearst, Ont., cutting almost 850 miles off previous all-CN and CN-O.N. Rail routings.

CN and O.N. Rail, Ontario Northland’s rail division, connect at Rouyn-Noranda, and at the northern Ontario communities of North Bay and Hearst.

The routing protocol was reached because O.N. Rail’s Noranda-North Bay haulage route and CN’s North Bay-Toronto route – for rail traffic moving between CN’s network in Quebec’s Abitibi Region and Toronto for furtherance to points throughout North America – together are approximately 220 miles shorter than the all-CN route via Quebec and allow traffic to avoid a major CN classification yard in Montreal.

Initiated a year ago as a pilot project, this CN and O.N. Rail routing has proved highly successful, the companies say. In addition, CN and Ontario Northland have agreed on a haulage route between Hearst and Noranda for traffic moving between western Canada/western U.S. and northwestern Quebec. This route over O.N. Rail is approximately 620 miles shorter than the current one over CN via Toronto and O.N. Rail via North Bay. It also allows this traffic to avoid marshalling at CN’s Toronto yard.

“This agreement is a winning proposition for CN and Ontario Northland, reducing costs and improving network fluidity. But the real winners are our rail customers in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec, whose traffic will reach key markets in Canada and the United States more quickly. This will increase their competitiveness in the marketplace," said Keith E. Creel, senior vice-president of CN’s Eastern Canada Region, said: Steve Carmichael, president and chief executive officer of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC).

“Our routing agreement with CN is an important step forward in our strategic plan to improve customer service, grow our business and improve the economics of Ontario Northland’s rail division. Importantly, the haulage agreement will add greater freight density to our line between Hearst and Cochrane, Ont.”

Under the agreement, O.N. Rail is increasing train frequency over the haulage routes for CN from five to six or seven days per week. In addition, CN is making its Guaranteed Car Order Program available to key O.N. Rail customers and assuming responsibility for switching O.N.Rail’s customers at Noranda.

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