Railroad shipping: CN set to collaborate with TSI Terminal Systems for efficiency improvements

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Class I railroad carrier Canadian National Railway (CN) recently announced it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with TSI Terminal Systems, a subsidiary of GCT Container Terminals Inc., which endeavors to enhance service levels for mutual customers and draw greater volumes of traffic over Port Metro Vancouver (PMV).

Company officials said this MOU will “drive strong mutual focus on system efficiencies, improved communication, and close monitoring of their gateway performance.” They added that TSI is the largest container terminal operator in Canada, and it handles roughly 70 percent of the containerized cargo moving through its two terminals which it operates under long-term lease at PMV.

CN Director of Communications & Public Affairs Mark Hallman told LM 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 is 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.

This news follows similar collaboration announcements CN has made in recent weeks.

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.

“We will soon be meeting to discuss how we can improve best practices and work together in concert, because with multiple parties in the supply chain there is a great opportunity for all the stakeholders from ports to terminal operators to the steamship companies [for these three announcements] to get closer to the customer and plan for greater collaboration,” he said.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
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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