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CNI Ramps Up Wisconsin Venture

Zacks Equity Research

Canadian National Railway (CNI) is expediting its upgrading project of the Whitehall Subdivision, worth US$33 million, in Wisconsin.

The company plans to uplift the rail track stretch covering 74 miles of the Whitehall Subdivision between Wisconsin Rapids and Blair, Wis. within a span of three year instead of four, keeping customer benefits in mind. Starting in 2012, the work is slated to be fully completed by Dec 2014.

This project will aid in transporting heavier loaded frac sand freight cars with a maximum weight of 286,000 pounds. With a rise in volume per car, there will be better productivity for customer car fleets and faster train pace.

Following the enhancement, the car-loading space and train speed for the growing frac sand supply chains of clients – Badger Mining Corporation, Preferred Sands of Wisconsin LLC, Atlas Resin Proppants LLC, and Taylor Frac LLC – are expected to improve.

Goods transportation via rails is gaining popularity among companies for its capacity to move large volumes safely within shorter transit times, creating cost efficiencies. Canadian National is looking forward to tap this opportunity and offer its clients a more well-integrated, better designed and upgraded transportation platform that will enable them to reach markets far and wide, economically and on time.

We appreciate Canadian National’s focus on developing the rail road in the Whitehall Subdivision to accelerate the movement of frac sand that is amply utilized in the oil and gas industry. This action is expected to improve the supply chain connectivity between the customers of the company in Wisconsin and the oil and gas shale basins in North America.

Canadian National – which operates in the North American sector along with railway companies such as Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP), GATX Corp. (GMT) and Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) – carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

We believe Canadian National is well poised to reap benefits from improving demand and pricing trends. The company’s industry-leading operating ratio, service improvements and expected growth across the board, particularly in Intermodal, Metals and Minerals and Automotive, bode well for its projected earnings growth over the next few months.

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