CN Rail picks up business abandoned by Canadian Pacific

Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:53pm EST
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* CN Rail says gains from small markets exited by CP

* CN had "very good" October, "decent" November

TORONTO Nov 20 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co is gaining modestly from markets abandoned by smaller competitor Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, CN's chief marketing officer said on Tuesday.

CN, Canada's largest railroad, has benefited from CP's exit from the market in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and from its service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Detroit, Michigan, CN's Jean-Jacques Ruest said at a Scotiabank transportation conference.

"The thing that they've decided to do less of, we still do very well. So we've picked up some business that seems to be no longer attractive to them," Ruest said during a webcast presentation.

CP is restructuring under a new chief executive to try to improve efficiency, and will lay out details of its strategy at a Dec 4-5 investor event.

Montreal-based CN had a "very good month of October" and is having a "decent" November to date, Ruest said. He added, however, that overall fourth-quarter performance will be largely determined by the final weeks of December.

The timing of winter weather, which boosts operational costs, and the duration of an end-of-quarter dip in carload demand will have a major impact on results, he said.

The railway will issue 2013 forecasts in January, when it reports quarterly financial results.   Continued...