Rail—Pulling To­ward a Cleaner Fu­ture

Policy - - Contents - Janet Drys­dale

Trans­porta­tion ac­counts for 28 per cent of Canada’s GHG emis­sions, but rail­ways gen­er­ate only 5 per cent of that, or just 1 per cent of the coun­try’s emis­sions. CN, North Amer­ica’s largest rail­way, leads the in­dus­try with fuel con­sump­tion 15 per cent be­low the in­dus­try av­er­age. In 2017 alone, re­new­able fu­els re­sulted in the rail­way pro­duc­ing 79,000 tonnes less car­bon. Rail is clearly a sus­tain­able choice in trans­porta­tion.

As one of the most ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ways to move goods, rail has tremen­dous po­ten­tial to re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of freight trans­porta­tion by of­fer­ing sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion so­lu­tions to­day and into the fu­ture. On av­er­age, freight trains are ap­prox­i­mately four times more fuel ef­fi­cient than trucks. Rail can move a tonne of freight more than 200 kilo­me­ters on a sin­gle litre of fuel

and a sin­gle train can re­move more than 300 trucks from our con­gested road and high­way net­work.

Canada’s trans­porta­tion sec­tor gen­er­ates ap­prox­i­mately 28 per cent of the coun­try’s GHG emis­sions, how­ever rail­ways pro­duce just 5 per cent of that to­tal, and one per cent of the coun­try’s over­all GHG emis­sions. In­ter­modal freight ship­ping com­bines the re­sources of dif­fer­ent trans­porta­tion modes, such as truck­ing and rail, to move prod­ucts from the man­u­fac­tur­ing site to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. In­ter­modal helps lower trans­porta­tion costs by al­low­ing each mode to be used for the por­tion of the trip to which it is best suited. But it goes be­yond cost sav­ings. Ef­fec­tive in­ter­modal ser­vice also helps re­duce emis­sions by up to 75 per cent by shift­ing long haul truck traf­fic to rail. Ac­cord­ing to the Rail­way As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada, “A 10 per cent shift in truck traf­fic to rail would trans­late to a 3.7-mega­tonne re­duc­tion in car­bon emis­sions in Canada, while 15 per cent would re­sult in a 5.6-mega­tonne re­duc­tion.”

We rec­og­nize our re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide a more sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion ser­vice to our cus­tomers while min­i­miz­ing the im­pacts of our op­er­a­tions. With ap­prox­i­mately 84 per cent of our car­bon emis­sions gen­er­ated from rail op­er­a­tions, our fo­cus is to con­tin­u­ously im­prove lo­co­mo­tive fuel ef­fi­ciency. Oper­at­ing ef­fi­ciently has been the hall­mark of our suc­cess and CN con­tin­ues to lead the North Amer­i­can rail in­dus­try, con­sum­ing ap­prox­i­mately 15 per cent less fuel per gross tonne mile than the in­dus­try av­er­age.

Our unique oper­at­ing model al­lows us to move more freight in a tight, re­li­able and ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion for our cus­tomers. We con­tinue to pur­chase new lo­co­mo­tives that meet stricter reg­u­la­tory emis­sions stan­dards, pro­duc­ing less air con­tam­i­nants while be­ing more fuel ef­fi­cient. In 2018, we an­nounced the pur­chase of 200 new high-horse­power lo­co­mo­tives, and our train crews and rail traf­fic con­trollers are con­tin­u­ously be­ing trained on best prac­tices for fuel con­ser­va­tion, in­clud­ing lo­co­mo­tive shut­downs in our yards, stream­lined rail­car han­dling, train pac­ing, coast­ing and brak­ing strate­gies. For ex­am­ple, in 2016, we de­creased train idling by 14 per cent. Fur­ther­more, the in­stal­la­tion of fu­el­ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies and big data man­age­ment an­a­lyt­ics ca­pa­bil­i­ties are help­ing us re­duce our car­bon footprint. Our Fuel Pro­duc­tiv­ity team uses a va­ri­ety of tech­nolo­gies to im­prove lo­co­mo­tive fuel ef­fi­ciency and a key fo­cus of this strat­egy is putting just the right amount of lo­co­mo­tive power on each train us­ing what we call our Horse­power Ton­nage An­a­lyzer (HPTA). Lev­er­ag­ing data from lo­co­mo­tive teleme­try sys­tems, the HPTA tool was built in-house and gives crews in­struc­tions and real-time mon­i­tor­ing al­low­ing them to use only the lo­co­mo­tive power needed dur­ing that trip, by op­ti­miz­ing a lo­co­mo­tive’s horse­power-to-ton­nage ra­tio. In ad­di­tion, we use Trip Op­ti­mizer, which reg­u­lates the speed of a train by con­trol­ling the lo­co­mo­tive throt­tle and brak­ing sys­tem, and com­putes the most ef­fi­cient man­ner to han­dle the train. The Lo­co­mo­tive Teleme­try Sys­tem col­lects data to drive im­proved lo­co­mo­tive and train per­for­mance, in­clud­ing fuel con­ser­va­tion. The use of dis­trib­uted power, where a lo­co­mo­tive is placed fur­ther back in the train, is an­other tech­nol­ogy used to im­prove train han­dling and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

Our rail fuel ef­fi­ciency in­no­va­tive mind­set ex­tends to all as­pects of our busi­ness. For ex­am­ple, rout­ing pro­to­cols fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of cus­tomer ship­ments in the most ef­fi­cient way. We also col­lab­o­rate with ports and ter­mi­nal op­er­a­tors to min­i­mize dwell times and fur­ther drive ef­fi­ciency. To­gether with other tech­nolo­gies and ini­tia­tives, we have achieved fuel ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments be­tween 2008 and 2017 that have avoided 5 mil­lion tonnes of car­bon emis­sions.

The growth of the re­new­able fuel mar­ket has pre­sented an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for CN to fur­ther re­duce our emis­sions by us­ing biodiesel blends in our lo­co­mo­tive fleet. In 2017, the use of re­new­able fu­els

In­ter­modal helps lower trans­porta­tion costs by al­low­ing each mode to be used for the por­tion of the trip to which it is best suited. But it goes be­yond cost sav­ings. Ef­fec­tive in­ter­modal ser­vice also helps re­duce emis­sions by up to 75 per cent by shift­ing long haul truck traf­fic to rail.

With ap­prox­i­mately 84 per cent of our car­bon emis­sions gen­er­ated from rail op­er­a­tions, our fo­cus is to con­tin­u­ously im­prove lo­co­mo­tive fuel ef­fi­ciency. Oper­at­ing ef­fi­ciently has been the hall­mark of our suc­cess and CN con­tin­ues to lead the North Amer­i­can rail in­dus­try, con­sum­ing ap­prox­i­mately 15 per cent less fuel per gross tonne mile than the in­dus­try av­er­age.

saved over 79,000 tonnes of car­bon. In the com­ing years, we look for­ward to work­ing with our sup­pli­ers to ex­plore the use of re­new­able fu­els.

As we pre­pare for the fu­ture, our con­nec­tions with our cus­tomers, sup­ply chain part­ners and gov­ern­ments are en­abling us to de­liver sus­tain­able and prof­itable busi­ness that drives eco­nomic pros­per­ity in a low car­bon en­vi­ron­ment. As a true back­bone of the econ­omy, CN is com­mit­ted to play­ing a key role in the tran­si­tion to a lower car­bon econ­omy. Over the past 25 years, we have re­duced our lo­co­mo­tive emis­sion in­ten­sity by 40 per cent, re­sult­ing in the avoid­ance of over 30 mil­lion tonnes of car­bon, while achiev­ing record growth in the vol­ume of freight we move. Our ap­proach is to re­duce the car­bon in­ten­sity of our busi­ness pro­gres­sively over time and at a pace that’s con­sis­tent with the ob­jec­tive of sta­bi­liz­ing global tem­per­a­ture.

Rout­ing pro­to­cols fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of cus­tomer ship­ments in the most ef­fi­cient way. We also col­lab­o­rate with ports and ter­mi­nal op­er­a­tors to min­i­mize dwell times and fur­ther drive ef­fi­ciency. To­gether with other tech­nolo­gies and ini­tia­tives, we have achieved fuel ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments be­tween 2008 and 2017 that have avoided 5 mil­lion tonnes of car­bon emis­sions.

We are also work­ing with many of our cus­tomers to mea­sure and help them re­duce their trans­porta­tion sup­ply chain GHG emis­sions by lev­er­ag­ing rail for the long haul and truck­ing over shorter dis­tances. The greater use of com­bined trans­port helps lower trans­porta­tion costs by al­low­ing each mode to be used for the por­tion of the trip to which it is best suited and also helps re­duce emis­sions, traf­fic con­ges­tion, ac­ci­dents and the bur­den on over­stressed trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

Launched in part­ner­ship with Tree Canada in 2014, CN’s EcoCon­nex­ions part­ner­ship pro­gram aims to both part­ner with and rec­og­nize cus­tomers who are com­mit­ted to build­ing an ef­fi­cient and more sus­tain­able fu­ture. Each year, cus­tomers are in­vited to par­take in the pro­gram and sub­mis­sions are eval­u­ated based on sus­tain­able poli­cies, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, re­port­ing to the CDP, and modal shift. Since 2015, we have planted 310,000 trees to rec­og­nize 32 of our cus­tomers for their sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices.

One ex­am­ple is Kruger Prod­ucts, Canada’s largest pro­ducer of con­sumer tis­sue brands. John O’Hara, Kruger’s Vice Pres­i­dent of Busi­ness Plan­ning and Lo­gis­tics has said: “Our eco­log­i­cal footprint is linked with our cor­po­rate strat­egy. CN’s lead­er­ship in sus­tain­able prac­tices, like the EcoCon­nex­ions pro­gram, al­lows us to part­ner with them to re­duce our car­bon footprint and elim­i­nate waste in our sup­ply chains. As a re­sult, our part­ner­ship has grown dra­mat­i­cally over the last five years.” These ef­forts reach much fur­ther as great strides have been made over the years en­gag­ing our em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties through our EcoCon­nex­ions pro­gram to con­serve en­ergy, re­duce waste and im­prove bio­di­ver­sity through re­for­esta­tion. In re­cent years, we have been re­spon­si­ble for plant­ing 1.8 mil­lion trees and shrubs in Canada and the U.S., mak­ing us the lead­ing pri­vate non-forestry com­pany tree planter in Canada.

Fur­ther­more, ev­ery year, we han­dle over 300 mil­lion tonnes of cargo from the food we eat, the wood to build our homes, the cars we drive, the ap­pli­ances that make our lives eas­ier, the prod­ucts that im­prove our qual­ity of life, and the en­ergy to power our ac­tiv­i­ties. Many of these goods are be­ing trans­formed into more sus­tain­able prod­ucts, en­abling us to play a key role as the back­bone of the clean econ­omy. We also con­tinue to en­gage with our cus­tomers to strengthen our po­si­tion within cleaner en­ergy mar­kets and thanks to in­no­va­tion by our cus­tomers, we are now mov­ing cleaner en­ergy prod­ucts like wood pel­lets, wood chips, wind tur­bine com­po­nents, so­lar pan­els, as well as bio­fuel.

Through the use of greener and cleaner tech­nolo­gies and more ef­fi­cient oper­at­ing prac­tices, rail­roads are con­stantly im­prov­ing and com­mit­ted to even greater en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­cel­lence in the years to come. By mov­ing sus­tain­able prod­ucts, in­clud­ing cleaner en­ergy sources, we are play­ing an im­por­tant role as a back­bone of the clean econ­omy and the lifeblood of health­ier com­mu­ni­ties.

Janet Drys­dale is a Vice-Pres­i­dent at CN with re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­vid­ing strate­gic di­rec­tion and lead­er­ship for the com­pany’s sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy. de­liv­er­ingre­spon­si­bly@cn.ca

CN photo

Ship to rail at Hal­i­fax Har­bour. In­ter­modal trans­port sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces GHG emis­sions.

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