COMPETITION WATCH: CN profits continue to chug along despite harsh West Coast weather

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MONTREAL, Que. — The Canadian National railway has managed a 16% profit gain in the fourth-quarter in the face of several severe storms on Canada’s West Coast that toppled trees, knocked out power and created serious backlogs at the Port of Vancouver, the National Post has reported.

Citing everything from mudslides to avalanches in its long list of weather woes, CN still earned a reported $499 million in the fourth quarter, up from $430 a year earlier, with revenue rising from $1.89 billion to $1.94 billion.

CN has proved itself a survivor in the recent past, stunning investors despite problems ranging from hurricanes to high fuel costs and train derailments.

Claude Mongeau, the railway’s chief financial officer, said CN could boost earnings by 10% this year, provided fuel prices do not exceed expectations, the National Post reports, though he noted sales could be affected by a slowing economy, fuel-hedging losses and a reduction in the fuel surcharge.

CN’s results come as the operator of Vancouver’s biggest container port, Deltaport, continues to struggle with a backlog of nearly 7,000 containers at its docks. Frightful weather is being blamed in what is being called the worst backlog in the operator’s history.

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