NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd announced on October 20 that an ‘exploratory conversation’ about a possible merger with CSX Corp had ended, and that no further talks were planned.

CP confirmed that it had proposed a merger which it envisaged would create ‘an integrated coast-to-coast combination that would improve customer service, promote competition, alleviate congestion in North America – specifically the key Chicago gateway – and generate significant shareholder value’. It believed this would offer ‘creative alternatives for shippers, greater fluidity, increased capacity and improved efficiency industry-wide.’

CP said that while regulatory concerns ‘appear to be a major deterrent’ for railways considering mergers, it believes that given the ‘right structure between the right players’ and ‘thoughtful considerations and remedies to address shipper concerns’, regulatory approval would be achievable.

The North American rail industry is currently facing the challenge of moving more freight than ever as oil production, crop yields and consumer demand grow, CP said, and ‘the significant problems that beset the industry now will only worsen over time if solutions aren't put in place immediately’. It felt that a ‘pro-competition, customer-friendly, safety-focused railway combination is one such solution that could not be ignored on its merits by regulators’.