Over the past several years, CN execs have focused their energies on bolstering the railroad's international intermodal segment. To that end, they've concentrated efforts on developing level of service agreements with major ports and terminal operators throughout the United States and Canada. As the name suggests, these pacts are aimed at improving service by setting specific performance benchmarks that the railroad and its partners must work together to meet. The line of thinking here is that greater efficiency will lead to increased business opportunities — here and abroad. This kind of collaboration is key to the railroad's ability to successfully compete in the intermodal realm, as CN's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer JJ Ruest told me in late August.
"We’ve really put our efforts on reliable supply chain service, which in our view is the new competitive edge,” he said. “Success doesn’t come by going at it alone."
For Progressive Railroading's October cover story, I caught up with Ruest and a handful of CN's port partners to learn a bit more about the railroad's international strategy.
As you peruse my article, consider these questions: Does overseas traffic play a significant part in your overall business approach? Has that changed over the years? Across the rail industry, how important is it for companies to think globally?