We're in good shape to meet demand: CN Rail CEO
The chief executive officer of Canada’s largest railway says the construction of the Trans Mountain expansion would be “good for all of us.”
“One thing that’s very much needed in terms of infrastructure is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (expansion),” Canadian National Railway Co. CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday. “In a company like CN, that is very much dependent on the economy of the nation doing well, having Alberta being able to get its product to market would stimulate the economy of Alberta and that’d be good for all of us.”
With the Liberal Party emerging from Monday night’s federal election with a minority government, the fate of Trans Mountain has once again charged to the forefront.
The pipeline, which the federal government purchased from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. in May of 2018 for $4.5 billion, still faces six challenges in the Federal Court of Appeals, but requires no further Parliamentary approval for construction to start.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed reporters in Ottawa for the first time since winning a minority mandate and vowed to push forward with the project.
He said he has already spoken to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe about prioritizing the concerns of Western Canada.
Kenney vowed on Tuesday night to get a “fairer deal” for Alberta on equalization payments to Ottawa, saying he would force Alberta’s fight onto the national agenda “come hell or high water.” Moe, meanwhile, wrote an open letter to Trudeau on Tuesday, also calling for equalization renegotiation and an end to the price on carbon.
CN Rail cut its 2019 profit outlook on Tuesday, citing eroded demand for rail amid a weaker economy.
Ruest reiterated that his company can also play a part in strengthening Canada’s energy industry.
“We would love to be able to [increase] crude-by-rail in the third quarter,” Ruest told BNN Bloomberg. “We have the capacity to move as much as 300,000 barrels per day and in the month of September we only moved 180,000 barrels per day.”
“So, we have the ability to flex up for any natural resource that Western Canada might have.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included a typo in CN’s daily crude-by-rail capacity. BNN Bloomberg regrets the error.