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Forest Products

CN Centerbeam Auction Program (CAP)

CN is offering a Centerbeam Auction Program (CAP) for customers who wish to have a guarantee on a portion of their weekly centerbeam supply requirements in times of high demand. The program is opening access to 200 centerbeam orders per week from CN-served loading locations in Canada, destined to all destinations in US, Eastern Canada or Western Canada. Participants will benefit from incremental car supply from CN’s common fleet’s weekly distribution.

The program intends to:

  • Be compatible with CN’s Car Order system and alleviate unplanned higher demand fluctuation related to market demand, railroads’ operating challenges or weather conditions
  • Provide additional cars to customers for sensitive orders
  • Provide additional cars to destinations that are not designated as HVP during periods of high demand

General information

This program is for shipments from lumber and panels customers directly served by CN or by CN partner shortlines, moving on centerbeams. The main goal of the program is to ensure CN allocates and supplies cars to customers that have orders to fill. If no customers request access to the available auctionable fleet, then these cars will be allocated to the general allocation (GA).


Participants are invited to make Auction Car Offers for a weekly car guaranteed allocation at or above the minimum price of $100 Cdn per car:

  • CAP is defined as an “offer” from the participant with a financial offer/payment to CN. In exchange, CN is to provide a prioritized weekly centerbeam car allotment for the customer mill
  • A car unit consists of 1 centerbeam
  • 200 centerbeams per week will be put up for auction as part of the CAP
  • Participants may submit a CAP using the electronic form referenced below this section
  • A minimum bid of $100 Cdn per car is required for the auction
  • A minimum block of 5 cars per origin location is required for the auction
  • An awarded CAP cannot be transferred to another customer or origin location
  • CN, at its own discretion, reserves the right to reject any or all valid CAP offers
  • Successful participants will have entered into a CAP Contract with CN, with all the applicable rights and obligations outlined
  • A successful CAP will result in an electronic confirmation (email) to the participant, confirming that their CAP has been awarded
  • CN will invoice the Participant represented on the successful CAP. The Payment is non-refundable
  • All cars allocated by way of auction will be subject to CN tariff 9000


Auctionable cars will be allocated to the highest bidders on a first come-first serve basis. The weekly auction will end on the Wednesday 14h00 EST. Customers will be notified through email confirmation, if CAP was awarded and in what amount (number of cars & $price/car).

Customers that acquire the additional cars through a successful CAP will see their General Allocation for the following week increase by the same number of cars. Customers will have the choice to load these cars to the destinations of their choice at their CN contractual freight rate level.

If CN fails to supply the weekly-allocated cars for a specific customer and mill, CN will only issue an OS invoice for the cars that have been physically spotted; up to the awarded amount of cars the customers originally acquired under the CAP.


Customer ordered 100 HVP  100 GA   Bid for 50 CAP cars
CN allocation 100 HVP 50 GA  
Customer Auction award      50 GA cars awarded through CAP
Revised Allocation 100 HVP 50 GA  50 GA cars awarded through CAP at a
minimum bid of $100/pc

  • If CN delivers 200 cars CN fulfill its obligation and charges 50 cars times a minimum bid of $100 for CAP cars
  • If CN delivers 175 cars CN to issue an invoice for 25 cars at a minimum bid of $100/pc for CAP cars
  • If CN delivers less than 150 cars CN not to issue any invoice under the CAP

Eligible Participants

To be eligible, a participant must have an approved line of credit in good standing with CN and be registered in CN’s eBusiness electronic commerce program to receive and make payments under this program via electronic funds transfer.

For further information, contact your CN Account Manager or email Sales. Participants may communicate with CN regarding program administration by electronic mail transmission to the Car Auction Team.


Frequently Asked Questions for CN Centerbeams Fleet Auction Program

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