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Canadian National looking to steal some market share

HAMILTON, Ont. - Canadian National Railway is strengthening its position of steel transportation—a lucrative market long controlled by trucks—with a new $6-million steel transfer center in the Hamilton’s industrial north end.

CN says the new facility offers shippers and receivers attractive costs and service alternative to trucking, while helping to reduce heavy truck traffic on congested southern Ontario highways. The steel sheet market in this area requires the transportation of nearly 11 million tons of product a year. In addition, the area is a major hub for movement of sheet between Canada and the United States.

While the majority of Canadian domestic and transborder sheet steel moves by truck, CN hopes to take its own slice of the pie by not necessarily competing with trucking companies, but by partnering with them, says CN spokesperson Mark Hallman. With increasing long-haul costs and tie-ups at border crossings, Hallman suggests it may be beneficial for shippers and even some trucking companies to use the CN service—which boasts a 90% on-time performance— while dedicating more trucks to other lanes.

Located in the heart of Hamilton's north-end industrial area, the 48,000-square foot temperature and humidity controlled steel center will accommodate the transfer, warehousing and/or cross-docking of coiled or sheet steels used in automotive applications, appliances, commercial metal buildings, and metal fabrication. It is adjacent to CN's main line and Dofasco Inc.'s central shipping department off Parkdale Avenue North.

CN expects the facility will generate several hundred thousand tons of throughput, primarily coiled steel. The majority of the steel will move via new insulated covered coil cars into the Hamilton center, where it will be transferred to or from rail car and truck for local manufacturers.

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