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CN Rail Update: Canada - United States Border Remains Open to Rail

March 19, 2020

From CN Rail:

We would like to update you on the status of our operations as well as CN’s preparedness for COVID-19. 

CN continues to proactively respond to the developing COVID-19 pandemic. As always, the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners remains our top priority. 

At this time, we continue to operate very efficiently and our network is extremely fluid. We have the available capacity and resources to meet your needs, especially in the intermodal sector which is critical to the supply of goods we all need to weather this pandemic.

Canada - United States Border Remains Open to Rail

Earlier today, Canada and the United States announced that the border between the two countries would be temporarily closed to non-essential travel for tourists and visitors. Leading up to this decision, CN worked with authorities on both sides of the border to make the case that rail is essential to the delivery of the goods our society requires. We are therefore pleased that this temporary closure does not affect rail shipments between Canada and the United States. 

CN has always played a key role in the North American economy. We have been the railroad of North American free trade since the inception of NAFTA. We maintain five secure border crossings, protected by track side technology called VACIS. This technology allows Canadian and American inspectors to see inside the railcars and speeds up border inspections.

We want to assure you that our experienced team of border experts are working with government officials to ensure that your goods get to market and the border remains fluid. 

We are Here for You 

We will continue to stay in close contact with government and with our supply chain partners to ensure your goods continue to move without interruption. Our people take very seriously our responsibility as a critical component of your supply chains. Our intermodal service is moving key consumer goods to restock empty store shelves and our temperature controlled service is playing an important role in the food and beverage sector. We are ready to ramp up our capacity as required to alleviate the pressure on long-haul truck drivers.  

CN’s Safety Measures

Safety is a core value at CN. We have on staff a medical team and occupational health department, who are playing a pivotal role in our pandemic planning. They are fully aligned and take direction from the World Health Organization, as well as Provincial, State and Federal authorities as required. They are also a member of the Association of American Railroad Health Committee where best practices are shared amongst North American railroads.

Last week as part of our planning, CN implemented measures that include restricting employee travel, increasing social distancing, offering work from home for employees not required on site, and amplifying cleaning regimens on trains, terminals and in our offices. We also took the important step of segregating our rail traffic control functions and spreading these mission-critical employees over 5 highly-secure sites where they are better protected from contamination.  

As a key partner to your business, the entire CN team of people is committed to getting your goods to markets and to ports in a safe and responsible manner. We are proud that you can count on us when global uncertainties impact your supply chains and be assured that we will be there to help through what is ahead.

We welcome your feedback to help us better anticipate your supply chain needs during this difficult time.   

Thank you, we appreciate your partnership.

James Cairns, Senior Vice-President, Rail Centric Supply Chain
Keith Reardon, Senior Vice-President, Consumer Product Supply Chain