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CN Rail picks up business abandoned by Canadian Pacific

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Canadian National Railway Co (CNR-T) is gaining modestly from markets abandoned by smaller competitor Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP-T), CN's chief marketing officer said on Tuesday.

CN, Canada's largest railroad, has benefited from CP's exit from the market in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and from its service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Detroit, Michigan, CN's Jean-Jacques Ruest said at a Scotiabank transportation conference.

"The thing that they've decided to do less of, we still do very well. So we've picked up some business that seems to be no longer attractive to them," Ruest said during a webcast presentation.

CP is restructuring under a new chief executive to try to improve efficiency, and will lay out details of its strategy at a Dec 4-5 investor event.

Montreal-based CN had a "very good month of October" and is having a "decent" November to date, Ruest said. He added, however, that overall fourth-quarter performance will be largely determined by the final weeks of December.

The timing of winter weather, which boosts operational costs, and the duration of an end-of-quarter dip in carload demand will have a major impact on results, he said.

The railway will issue 2013 forecasts in January, when it reports quarterly financial results.

CN expects growth over the next two years in a range of businesses, Ruest said, including grain, potash, crude-by-rail and intermodal operations.

Intermodal traffic involves the transport of a wide variety of goods in containers by more than one form of carrier, such as rail and truck.

CN will expand its operations and services in the United States to gain intermodal market share, Ruest said. It plans to open a new U.S. terminal, for example, but will not name the location until the first quarter.

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