CN: Scheduled Potash Service Drives New Supply Chain Efficiencies

SASKATOON — CN said its Scheduled Potash Service has increased supply chain efficiencies for producers in Western Canada and provided them quicker access to markets.

CN’s Scheduled Potash Service is focused on an end-to-end management of the supply chain in collaboration with customers. To drive new efficiencies, CN innovated with a tool giving sales and operations personnel clear visibility to customer orders for planning rail assets and scheduling shipments. With this approach, CN is working closely with its customers to minimize delays, expedite shipments, and provide supply chain balance between placing empties and picking up loads.

CN also instituted a new potash fleet management team to work with customers to improve distribution of empty private hopper cars to mines for reloading. This initiative, with locomotives cycling between CN’s potash hub in Winnipeg and mines in Saskatchewan, has reduced switching requirements and car dwell times at terminals. As a result, CN has significantly reduced car cycles from mine to destination and return.

Jean-Jacques Ruest, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of CN, said: “CN’s Scheduled Potash Service is the next chapter in our supply chain collaboration agenda, mirroring our Scheduled Grain Service and our comprehensive management of coal movements from Western Canadian mines to export terminals.

“By scheduling potash service, we have reduced car cycle times for privately owned hoppers from mine to destination and return to mine for loading by approximately 25 per cent – a huge gain in efficiency for both CN and our customers. This improvement helps our potash customers get to market faster and move more bulk product. CN has also benefited from the additional capacity provided by these efficiency gains.”

Bob Felgenhauer, vice-president, transportation and distribution, of PotashCorp, said: “CN’s Scheduled Potash Service has brought a new level of supply chain efficiency to our operations, allowing us to more reliably serve our customers. This is very important to us. Looking ahead, CN will play a vital role in our logistics as we continue to grow our business.”

CN is a significant player in the Canadian rail market for fertilizers, with production centred primarily in Western Canada. CN serves, or has access to, all major potash mines in Saskatchewan. The majority of Canadian potash moves by rail to markets in the United States or to ports for export to overseas markets.