CN Rail optimistic Canada won’t be hurt by potential NAFTA changes

It expects to transport 3% to 4% more volumes of cargo throughout the year.

Photo: CN Railway

MONTREAL — Canadian National Railway says it’s “cautiously optimistic” the country won’t be hurt by potential changes to NAFTA even though the automotive sector could be in the crosshairs of US President Donald Trump.

“We don’t expect any significant change, at least not in the foreseeable future and I think most of our customers… are thinking the same sort of optimistic yet cautious approach,” CN chief executive Luc Jobin said in a conference call.

Jobin added that 17% of the railway’s business is within the US, which will give it opportunities to grow if manufacturing expands and jobs are created south of the border.

The country’s largest railway also expects to transport 3% to 4% more volumes of cargo throughout the year, even though it continues to experience some volatility and weaker conditions in a number of commodity sectors.

“As we look into 2017, North American economic conditions are improving, with favourable consumer confidence which supports progress in many sectors,” said CN’s chief financial officer Ghislain Houle.

The railway transported 87,000 carloads of grain in the quarter and has high hopes for the agricultural commodity. Although crude and frac sand volumes have improved of late, he said the sector should remain relatively muted for the year.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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