As part of a comprehensive review of its supply chain, Canada National Railway (CN) has reduced dwell times for European vehicle imports at its Autoport Terminal in Halifax by 25% since it implemented an integrated approach for meeting shipping demand at the terminal in the spring this year.
The Autoport facility receives vehicles from ships through the port of Halifax, in Novia Scotia on Canada’s east coast, and transfers them to rail cars for distribution across 10 inland CN Autoport processing facilities in Canada. It also imports cars at a terminal in Vancouver, on the west coast.
“Basically, CN Autoport first develops a forecast of ship arrivals a month out, as well as a current outlook on vehicles in the facility that will be ready to ship in the coming week,” company spokesman Mark Hallman told Automotive Logistics News. “This information is used by all stakeholders to schedule resources to meet demand.”
According to Hallman, Autoport schedules the crews while CN railway operations ensure that switching of multi-level vehicle-carrying rail wagons is performed.
“At the same time CN car management flows the appropriate number of multi-levels [wagons] to Halifax. We have a broadly distributed internal weekly scorecard that measures performance and communicates upcoming demand,” said Hallman.
As a result average dwell times at CN Autoport in Halifax have declined to approximately 2.6 days from roughly 3.5 days earlier this year.
Al Dunn, purchasing manager of Ford Export & Global Growth Operations, said: “We have selected CN Autoport at Halifax to handle our new Transit Connect (compact panel van) for distribution through Canada because of the port's ideal location for reaching the Canadian market, CN's rail network throughout Canada, and Autoport's reputation for quality and its efficiency in processing vehicles.”
CN is also examining expanding yard capacity at its nearby marshalling yard at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.