Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We're coming across that border and some folks aren't too happy about that!

The ongoing debate in Illinois over CN's attempt to purchase a spur line railroad called the EJ&E is starting to bring out some of the more, er emotional of observers.

A recent letter to the editor of suburban Chicago paper the Daily Herald suggests that CN's quest for that rail line is part of grander agenda that will take jobs away from American workers as cheap Chinese products get funnelled through the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

The tone of Mr. Miller's (the author's) letter, is a tad alarmist for the folks of Illinois with Prince Rupert playing the welcoming role as the conduit of misery for American workers.

Never mind that other communities, Memphis for instance that depend on the flow of goods and materials have been quite interested in our progress for other reasons, mainly how the trains from our coast will provide jobs and investment in their towns and cities.

Mr. Miller however, is probably indicative of the kind of discussion that will continue as Prince Rupert's container terminal success grows, so we'd best work on thick skins as we seem to be on the minds of a lot of Americans these days...

In tough times in the USA, protectionist sentiment always flares up, it would seem that once again those embers are heating up below the 49th, and we apparently are for some part of the problem and for a few not much of a solution.

The real motives behind CN's plan
The Daily Herald
August 28, 2008

Living in Naperville, I have been following Marni Pyke's informative stories on CN's efforts to acquire the EJ&E rail line so that it can increase the freight traffic that it presently runs through the Chicago area.

The truth of the matter is that even if CN is allowed to acquire the EJ&E line, over an extended period, the rail traffic going through the Chicago city limits and Near West suburbs will increase, not decrease.

Why do I say this? Another truth here is CN does not really care about the convenience of people living in Riverside and other close-in suburbs.

CN is a public company. It adds value for its shareholders by increasing its revenue and profits. What is good for the public, whether people live in Naperville, Riverside, Barrington or Berwyn, is immaterial to CN and its executives.

CN's purpose in making this acquisition is to facilitate its being able to send additional trainloads into the heartland of the United States from the Canadian ports at Prince Rupert and Vancouver.
These ports, particularly Prince Rupert's, have been expanded and modernized. They have already taken a great deal of business from the ports of Los Angeles and Seattle. Additionally, Prince Rupert is now touting the advantage of being (via shipping routes) the closest North American port to Asia.

What does this mean to American workers and companies? The resulting traffic gains have come at the expense of American manufacturers who lost business and their employees who have lost jobs to the Asian manufacturers that the Canadian ports and CN are servicing and whom CN is now soliciting to bring even more imported goods into the United States.

This means CN will be adding insult to injury by running even more trains bringing more imports over from Canada into the United States through the Chicago area.

Please do not be naive. CN does not care one whit about the convenience or safety of people living along either its train line or along the EJ&E.

The only reason it cares about train route congestion is because it means a portion of the imported goods that CN could be hauling by its rails to the East and Gulf Coast are being placed on to trucks instead,

The upshot is CN arrogantly expects to burden the western suburbs with congestion, safety and cost problems in order to help it make even more money than it presently does by easing the flow of Asian goods into this country while reducing the benefit that American truckers receive.
In this light, it is time for the Surface Transportation Board to stand up and say "no" to penalizing American citizens in order to enrich wealthy foreign corporations.

Mark Miller

No comments: