Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) is Canada’s largest railway transportation company. Recently, the company has embraced the use of novel technology to improve the efficiency of trains. Canadian National’s (CN) seven new automated inspection portals feature ultra‑high-definition cameras that can detect defects not visible to the human eye as a train travels at track speed through the portal.
Digital application programming
In 2020, CN launched an ever‑expanding suite of digital application programming interfaces (APIs), that allow CN customers to seamlessly connect with CN to track and trace shipments using real‑time global positioning system (GPS) technology. This signaled a new era of innovation and supply chain visibility aimed at helping the company’s customers win business in specific markets that were not previously accessible.
It appears that CN is very focused on creating a sustainable future. The company is working on creating the railroad of the future. Management has indicated that empowering CN’s people to make decisions and listening to diverse viewpoints would help CN meet the company’s goals. Hence, CN is continuing to push toward increasing inclusion and diversity in the company’s teams and ensuring equity.
Focused on sustainability
Focusing on sustainability is sound business planning, as CN can benefit immensely from a wider range of insights and perspectives, and management wants to create an inclusive workplace. In 2020, CN was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World index for the ninth consecutive year, and in January 2021, the company was ranked 10th in the world on the Corporate Knights 2021 Global 100 index of the most sustainable companies.
For CN, creating a sustainable future also means always considering how the company’s activities affect the environment. Rail transport is part of the climate change solution, and CN continues to be an active leader through the company’s actions and transparency. CN has been making robust annual climate change disclosures for more than a decade. In 2020, CN also became a supporter of the task force on climate‑related financial disclosures (TCFD) and the company issued the first standalone TCFD report — a first in the North American rail sector.
Improved fuel efficiency
Also in 2020, CN’s actions to reduce emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low‑carbon economy resulted in CN being one of only three Canadian companies listed on the global climate A-List. As a company, CN has received world‑wide recognition of the company’s sustainability efforts. CN has a strong track record of fuel and carbon efficiency and has improved locomotive emissions intensity by 40% since 1993.
Today, CN is a North American rail industry leader, consuming approximately 15% less locomotive fuel per gross tonne mile than the average of the company’s Class I peers. In fact, CN delivered the company’s best fuel efficiency ever in 2020, which was 4% better than the previous record set in 2019. This avoided approximately 275,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
At CN, management has indicated that the company’s vision is to be the safest and most carbon‑efficient, operationally effective, and customer‑centric railroad in North America. The company plans to accomplish this by attracting and retaining a diverse team of committed and talented railroaders.