CN, TSI sign Service Level Agreement for Port Metro Vancouver service enhancements

Canadian National Railway and TSI Terminal Systems recently announced they have taken the next step and signed a Service Level Agreement, following a Memorandum of Understanding inked in June in an effort to draw greater volumes and enhanced service levels for shippers at Port Metro Vancouver.

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Following a June announcement in which Class I railroad carrier Canadian National Railway (CN) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TSI Terminal Systems, a subsidiary of GCT Container Terminals Inc., to enhance service levels for mutual customers and draw greater volumes of traffic over Port Metro Vancouver (PMV), the companies recently announced they have taken the next step and signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Company officials said the SLA establishes specific performance targets and measurement tools through a series of Key Performance Indicators for multiple customers, including on-time departure and arrival of trains, the utilization of train capacity, and the average dwell time of containers at TSI terminals, and other measures.

They added that the combination of TSI’s container terminals and CN’s rail infrastructure are well-positioned to leverage Vancouver as a key North American west coast intermodal logistics center.

CN Director of Communications & Public Affairs Mark Hallman told LM in June that CN has been interested for some time in developing closer ties with its key customers and stakeholders with which it does business.

“Clearly TSI is an important partner in terms of serving the international container steamship lines that call on PMV, and the [MOU and SLA are] going to be establishing the goals, activities, and responsibilities of the parties to ensure the future flow of containers is expedited through that gateway,” Hallman said.

And Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN, said in a statement that TSI is an important, strategic partner of CN and this Service Level Agreement is designed to drive continuous improvement in CN and TSI performance at the Vancouver Gateway, which is critical to better customer service and increased throughput at Port Metro Vancouver.

Prior to June’s MOU announcement between CN and TSI, CN had heralded similar collaborations with other parties.

On May 31, PMV and CN said they had joined hands for a supply chain collaboration effort to drive further efficiencies at the Port and recognize the importance of balanced accountability. PMV and CN said this agreement enables the Port, CN and port stakeholders to develop mechanisms to define, measure, monitor, and evaluate the performance of each participant at the port against established benchmarks, as well as establish processes to proactively communicate on service-related matters and resolve disputes between CN, the Port and port supply chain participants on a commercial basis. 

And on April 29, CN, the Halifax Port Authority (HPA), Cerescorp Company Limited (Ceres) and Halterm Container Terminal Limited (Halterm) heralded an agreement to better measure and align each party’s performance in the Halifax Gateway supply chain and enhance the port’s role as a preferred gateway on the east coast to Ontario, Quebec and the U.S. Midwest markets.

Officials said in a statement that the agreement establishes clear and defined performance standards for these Halifax Gateway partners – CN, HPA, Ceres and Halterm – regarding times for unloading and loading containers between vessels and cars, the timing of the placement of rail cars at the terminals, and CN transit times to key markets in eastern and central Canada and the U.S. Midwest.

When asked what the biggest benefits of the CN-TSI collaboration are for shippers, CN’s Hallman said that the biggest one is that all stakeholders are on the same page in terms of what the objectives are for performance and how that performance is measured, coupled with collaboration among all the stakeholders.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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