Jean-Jacques Ruest, President & CEO, CN

Posted: January 29, 2019

Jean-Jacques Ruest
President & CEO

This month, we spoke with Jean-Jacques Ruest, President & CEO at CN.

Tell us about CN and the greatest opportunities/challenges that lie ahead.

Along with an economy driven by consumer spending, we are seeing tightening of the over-the-road capacity amplified by an ongoing shortage of long-haul drivers, resulting in high demand for relevant rail services. This comes at a time when intermodal traffic is an expanding part of CN’s business in both overseas and domestic markets. Railroads are more cost-effective for transporting goods over long distances and have less impact on greenhouse gas levels than trucks, so the role we can play in this new economy is important and promising.

What do you see as the greatest advantages of operating a business in Halifax?

Halifax is a maritime city that understands the importance of the Port to the regional and North American economy. This is a major advantage compared to many cities elsewhere on the continent who view their ports and harbours as part of an old economy and don’t understand the extent to which they are economic drivers.

Naturally, Halifax is geographically positioned to seize important and strategic growth opportunities. CN’s customers in Central Canada and US Midwest need to have a reliable, efficient and cost-effective supply chain. The Port of Halifax combined with CN’s rail network provides import and export access to key markets in Europe, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia through the Suez Canal.

Hiring youth is important to the economic growth of Nova Scotia – what is CN doing?

Every year, CN offers best-in-class students the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through hands-on experience, either as part of their program of study, as a structured internship opportunity, or as a summer development assignment. Students can work in the departments of Transportation, Engineering, Mechanical, Supply Management and Corporate Services, developing their practical experience in their areas of study.

In 2018, CN established a new two-year Management Trainee Program designed to provide a solid operational background for the railway’s next generation of leaders. Over the course of the program, trainees will learn how CN operates and gain exposure to the company’s business agenda of operational and service excellence for its customers across North America.

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