CN Rail’s interim CEO and president Jean-Jacque Ruest issues public apology for delay in grain shipments and promises to take measures to improve services. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

CN apologizes to grain customers

Interim president and CEO Jean-Jacque Ruest of CN Rail announces measures to make improvements

Two days after CN Rail announced its long-serving CEO Luc Jobin was resigning, the company apologized for its poor delivery of grain in Western Canada.

“We apologize for not meeting the expectations of our grain customers, nor our own high standards,” interim president and CEO Jean-Jacque Ruest said in the statement. “The entire CN team has a sense of urgency and is fully focused on getting it right for farmers and our grain customers, regaining the confidence of Canadian businesses, and protecting Canada’s reputation as a stable trade partner in world markets.”

The statement goes on to list six measures CN Rail will begin to improve their grain shipments. First, the company will offer incentives for key employees to delay retirement and vacations, and entice recently retired operating employees to return to work.

More trains will begin operating, with an additional 400 conductors in the first three months of 2018. Toward the end of 2017, approximately 250 conductors had been hired by CN in Western Canada. CN expects to hire 375 more positions in the next three months — totalling more than 1,000 new jobs in nine months.

READ MORE: CN to hire 600 people in Western Canada as business improves

CN is leasing 130 trains to aid their supply demands. The statement said most of these vehicles are already online. In total, the company plans to invest more than $250 million this year to build new track and add yard capacity.

The announcement comes on March 7, two days after CEO Luc Jobin resigned effective immediately after 22 years with the company. In a statement about Jobin’s departure, it said the board “recognizes the immediate operational and customer service challenges the company has been facing since fall 2017 — led by high demand and insufficient network resiliency, coupled with severe winter weather conditions.”

Board chairman Robert Pace said, “The board believes the company needs a leader who will energize the team, realize CN’s corporate vision and take the company forward with the speed and determination CN is known for.”

Read more news about CN Rail here.

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