CN Going Back to Basics

Canadian National CEO Tracy Robinson told an investor’s conference this week that the carrier is taking a back-to-basics approach to operations.

Speaking to the Bank of America 29th Annual Transportation Conference, she said CN is emphasizing that that trains depart from yards on on time and with the right blocks of cars.

“As we bring the schedule together, it means every car has a plan, every block has a plan, every train has a plan, the meets are all scheduled. And every customer has a plan, including the local service delivery. As we do this, we’re seeing it’s starting to work,” Robinson said.

The goal of this is to increase network speed and improve service to shippers.

Robinson said traffic flows remain different than they were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although CN is actively seeking new business, Robinson said the railroad is more tightly coordinating its operations, marketing, and finance functions to ensure that it can handle any new business it takes on.

“You need to be intentional about that, and to build our book in such a way that we can deliver to our customers,” she said. “We want to be able to deliver what we sell.”

A story about Robinson’s speech can be read at

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