COMPETITION WATCH: CN, Ontario Northland sign routing protocol for Ontario, Quebec freight

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NORTH BAY, Ont. — 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.

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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