CN Signs Supply Chain Collaboration Agreement with Ag Exporter

Agri-Food Central Ltd. has become the latest shipper to sign an agreement with CN whereby the two will work together to improve the performance of the supply chain for the company's products.

Under the agreement, CN and Agri-Food Central, a specialty-grain exporter, will exchange information so they can jointly measure rail service and supply chain performance, cooperate on joint supply chain planning, and establish a process to address any rail service issues.

Agri-Food Central loads bags of lentils, canary seed, flax, and peas into 53-foot containers at CN's Winnipeg Intermodal Terminal. The railroad then transports the containers to Montreal, Vancouver, and New Orleans for export. Some also go to Mexico via Kansas City Southern (KCS) and return loaded with consumer goods.

"We have developed a close relationship with CN, which is well positioned to serve our needs in reaching export markets for our specialty grains," said David Nyznyk, director of supply chain management for Agri-Food Central, in the announcement of the agreement. "This supply chain collaboration and continuous improvement agreement with CN will enhance our competitiveness as we grow our penetration of foreign markets."

Doug MacDonald, CN vice-president, corporate marketing, noted that the railroad is signing a series of these supply chain collaboration agreements. Indeed, CN announced one such agreement with grain and animal-feed company Agri-Marché, Inc., on Oct. 11. At that time, Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, noted that over the summer CN had signed comprehensive supply chain agreements with more than 20 customers in the forest-products, grain, and metals and minerals segments.

Moreover, CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau stressed the company's focus on becoming "a true supply chain enabler" when addressing the Southeast Freight Conference in Memphis, Tenn., on Oct. 6.

"The CN team is taking its Precision Railroading model to the next level - delivering on an agenda of operational and service excellence anchored on supply chain collaboration to improve end-to-end service for our customers," Mongeau said.