Canadian National Railway denied appeal on grain shipping ruling

26.09.2016

The CTA found in favor of Louis Dreyfus, saying CN had breached its level of service obligation to the company for several weeks during the 2013-14 crop year.
 
The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier ruling involving a rail service dispute between Canadian National Railway Co. (CN) and Louis Dreyfus Commodities Canada Ltd.

The dispute was based on a complaint filed by Louis Dreyfus back in 2014, during a bumper crop. According to the complaint filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), Louis Dreyfus alleged that CN failed to provide enough rail cars to its grain elevators in Glenavon and Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Joffre and Lyalta, Alberta, Canada, to ship the 2013-14 crop.

Louis Dreyfus said it did not receive all of the railcars it had ordered during the 2013-14 crop year, with the most serious discrepancies occurring during week 30 to 35, during which time the company said no cars were delivered by CN to any of the four facilities. For three of the facilities, Louis Dreyfus said it had ordered at least 104 rail cars for each week for each facility, and for the fourth facility Louis Dreyfus said it had ordered 104 cars for each week except week 34, when no cars were ordered. In total, 2,392 rail cars were ordered for weeks 30 to 35, but no cars were delivered.

The CTA found in favor of Louis Dreyfus, saying CN had breached its level of service obligation to the company for several weeks during the 2013-14 crop year. But CN filed an appeal, citing the impact of the exceptional size of the grain crop and the adverse weather on its operations.

In a Sept. 16 ruling, though, the Federal Court of Appeal sided with the original filing.

“There is no merit in CN’s argument that it was denied procedural fairness,” Justice Wyman Webb wrote in the Sept. 16 ruling.  


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