EDMONTON, May 22, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Claude Mongeau, president and
chief executive officer of CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI), said today
dangerous goods are an integral part of everyday life and that CN has
an unwavering commitment to moving all traffic safely.
Mongeau, in a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, said CN's
commitment to safe operations is more than a set of principles. It's
evidenced by the more than 50 per cent reduction in CN's main-track
rail accidents per million train miles in Canada between 2003 and 2013,
and the fact that 99.998 per cent of CN movements of dangerous goods
arrive at destination without a release caused by an accident.
Mongeau said CN's safety record flows from sizable investments in rail
infrastructure - the company annually invests more than C$1 billion to
maintain network safety and integrity - and an intense focus on
employee training and safety awareness, root cause analysis of
accidents, and technological innovation.
"Dangerous goods are an important part of how all of us live and a major
business for us," Mongeau said. "Because of that, we know we have a
clear obligation to transport these products safely - it's fundamental
to the economy and to CN's social licence to operate its business."
But CN isn't content with the progress it's made in safety, Mongeau
said. Following the Lac-Mégantic accident last July, CN took a series
of steps to further reduce the potential for accidents, for example,
Strengthening its already-robust train securement practices;
Applying the U.S. "OT-55 key train policy" to trains hauling
highly-flammable liquids such as ethanol and crude oil, and voluntarily
extending the policy to its Canadian operations. The policy includes
measures on train dispatching, track inspection and restrictions on
Stepping up its detection capability to prevent accidents. In November
2013, CN unveiled a special program to acquire additional monitoring
equipment to enhance its strong technological base for early detection
of defects and mitigate the severity of accidents, and
Conducting corridor risk assessments, examining rail line proximity to
urban population and associated infrastructure, environmentally
sensitive areas, and railway operating practices to develop enhanced
safety processes for trains transporting dangerous goods.
Mongeau said CN has also expressed clear support for the retrofitting or
phase-out of older DOT-111 cars used to transport flammable liquids and
a reinforced standard for new tank cars built in the future, as well as
special operating practices for the transportation of dangerous goods.
CN has also implemented freight rate changes to encourage customers to
acquire tank cars that meet higher safety standards and begun to
phase-out its small fleet of legacy DOT-111 tank cars used to transport
diesel fuel for its locomotives to yard terminals.
Mongeau said CN, which already has a strong emergency response plan and
significant resources to handle accidents when they occur, believes
that the rail industry can enhance safety by working more closely with
communities. Toward that end, CN is reaching out to municipalities
along its North American rail network to review its safety practices,
share relevant information on dangerous goods traffic, and discuss
emergency response planning and training.
CN is also urging the implementation of mutual aid intervention
protocols, with the participation of other carriers and producers of
dangerous commodities. This would help codify emergency response
standards and expand response resources in order to be prepared to
handle any future rail incidents involving dangerous goods.
Mongeau concluded: "The safe transportation of dangerous goods and all
other freight traffic is a social and business imperative. It's a
fundamental principle for CN in its relationships with communities
along its network and central to its role as a true backbone of the
CN is a true backbone of the economy, transporting approximately 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 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
on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.
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