BYLINE: Paul M TellierPresident & Chief Executive OfficerCanadian National RailwayCANADIAN NATIONAL has taken decisive steps to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next millennium. By the end of this year CN and its customers will be positioned to reap the benefits of the increasing integration of the North American economy, as manifested by double-digit increases in north-south trade. We will have boosted our productivity again to meet the competitive challenge of the ’Big Four’ US railroads, and we will have moved aggressively to meet shippers’ ever-rising expectations for more consistent, more accountable rail service.I am determined that Canadian National will enter the new millennium as a stronger, more vibrant, North American railroad, with more than 50% of its business generated by north-south continental traffic. Indeed, my goal is to make CN the best railroad in North America.Sold by the Canadian government in 1995, in the largest and most successful initial public share offering in Canadian history, CN has continually striven to improve its transport product since launching its turnaround strategy in 1992. Cost reduction, productivity improvement and profitable, sustainable revenue growth have preoccupied management.And so has the charting of a sound strategic direction. Nothing manifests this more than the decision to acquire Illinois Central, announced on February 10 1998. This was driven by the fact that the arena in which CN and its customers compete today is increasingly being shaped by the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA’s effects are indisputable: Canada – US trade is growing at 11% annually. The CN/IC merger will offer new, efficient single-line services to many existing and prospective customers. Uniting CN – North America’s most improved railroad – with IC – the most efficient Class 1 rail carrier – will connect the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts with a single Y-shaped network.We are optimistic that the US Surface Transportation Board will approve the merger in a vote scheduled to take place this month. Customers will benefit from new sources of supplies and parts, and new markets for finished products, raw materials and bulk commodities. CN/IC will benefit from extended hauls for existing traffic and the diversion of business from other modes and other railroads. The merger will also enhance the shipper benefits of another strategic initiative – a 15-year marketing alliance which CN and IC signed with Kansas City Southern Railway in April 1998. This alliance already offers co-ordinated through-train service between Canada, the US midwest and south, and Mexico. Should the STB approve the CN/IC merger, CN/IC and KCSR will exchange trackage and haulage rights in the southern USA and pursue other new terminal investments.The merger and marketing alliance are driving CN down the centre of the continent, with two of the ’Big Four’ US railroads on one side and two on the other. But CSX, Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific still dwarf CN in size and revenue. There is little doubt that these giant railroads will become more powerful competitors than they are today – highly productive, efficient railroads with extended market reach and formidable abilities to raise capital for new investments. CN, as a North American railroad, has no choice but to be as productive as its US competitors. But our US expansion plans and productivity measures are not objectives in themselves. They must produce a service which the market wants. The glue that will meld CN’s strategic objectives into a consistently successful product is the way we run our trains. That is why we have devised plans to operate more efficiently, using fewer locomotives, cars and terminals to do more work. But this, in turn, will require fewer employees. Our objective is to offer customers a precise, competitive, consistent transport service based on a comprehensive schedule and measures to minimise the time that cars sit idle in marshalling yards.The benefits are manifold, providing:
Record Pts Prv1. Kentucky (64) 9-0 1,600 12. Duke 8-0 1,518 43. Arizona 8-0 1,486 34. Louisville 7-0 1,319 55. Wisconsin 8-1 1,316 26. Virginia 9-0 1,285 77. Villanova 8-0 1,173 108. Texas 7-1 1,155 69. Gonzaga 7-1 1,145 910. Kansas 6-1 1,083 1111. Wichita St. 5-1 929 812. Ohio St. 6-1 808 1413. Utah 6-1 717 2514. Iowa St. 5-1 668 2015. Butler 7-1 593 2316. Oklahoma 5-2 557 2217. Washington 7-0 428 —18. San Diego St. 6-2 390 1319. Maryland 8-1 370 2120. Miami 8-1 359 1521. North Carolina 6-2 350 1222. West Virginia 8-1 313 1623. N. Iowa 8-0 232 —24. St. John’s 6-1 211 —25. Notre Dame 8-1 200 —Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 120, Illinois 91, Georgetown 62, Iowa 60, Seton Hall 57, Baylor 49, TCU 45, Colorado St. 28, Arkansas 22, California 19, Michigan 14, Creighton 7, VCU 6, LSU 5, Indiana 3, NC State 3, Old Dominion 2, Dayton 1, Yale 1. Could a No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting be in store for the Dec. 27 Kentucky-Louisville game?U of L jumped another spot, to No. 4, in Monday’s new release of the USA Today Coaches Poll and AP Top 25, continuing a steady rise from the nation’s preseason 9th team. The Cardinals now sit behind just UK, Duke and Arizona after passing Wisconsin, a loser last week to the Blue Devils.Texas dropped two spots to No. 9 in the coaches poll after its loss to UK, and the Wildcats’ opponent Saturday, North Carolina, came in at No. 18.Kentucky, Louisville women’s basketball teams ranked in the top 10Ohio State, which lost last week to U of L, actually jumped a spot to 12th. The Buckeyes bounced back to beat Colgate over the weekend.UK is the only SEC team in either top 25 after both Arkansas (previously 21st by coaches) and Florida (previously 24th) both dropped out this week.And as for more U of L movement up, Duke plays Dec. 18 against UConn, and Arizona hosts Michigan on Dec. 13.The AP Top 25 for Monday, Dec. 8The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 7, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:
LOS ANGELES | For his next trick, Shigeru Miyamoto is working in reality, not virtual reality.While the famed Japanese creator of “Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong” spent most of his trip to last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo touting such upcoming Nintendo games as “Super Mario Maker” and “Star Fox Zero,” Miyamoto was also enthusiastic about a totally different undertaking. He’s helping to bring his digital creations to life in Universal theme parks.“We’ve come to the point where the kids who grew up playing Nintendo games are now parents who have their own kids,” said the veteran game designer during an interview translated by Bill Trinen, product marketing director at Nintendo of America. “I think for them it will be a tremendous experience.”FILE – In this June 11, 2014 file photo, Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto introduces the Nintendo’s Mario Maker during a press event at the Nintendo booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles. While the Japanese creator of “Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong” spent most of his trip to last week’s 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo hyping the upcoming video games “Super Mario Maker” and “Star Fox Zero,” Miyamoto is equally excited about his next project: bringing his digital creations to life in Universal theme parks. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)Nintendo Co. announced plans last month for immersive experiences featuring the Japanese gaming giant’s characters at Universal theme parks, but it didn’t provide any details. Universal Parks & Resorts is owned by cable company Comcast Corp. and has properties in Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; Osaka, Japan; and Sentosa, Singapore.Miyamoto suggested that plucky plumber Mario and his colorful Mushroom Kingdom would be hopping into Universal’s parks, though he didn’t elaborate on specific attractions. He noted Nintendo has been working closely with the theme park behemoth on the project.“We have all the knowledge of who the Mario character is, what the Mario world is and how it’s represented,” said Miyamoto. “We have been in constant communication with (Universal) communicating our vision to them, and they’re turning it into something that could exist within that park. It’s really about that partnership.”Despite the forthcoming release of the sci-fi space combat game “Star Fox Zero” and the do-it-yourself platformer “Super Mario Maker” for Nintendo’s Wii U console, the 62-year-old game designer has no immediate plans to retire — and his colleagues don’t want him to, either.“For me, because it’s Mr. Miyamoto, I want him to continue making things as long as he wants to continue making things,” said Shinya Takahashi, general manager of the software planning and development division at Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo. “I really think that Mr. Miyamoto will continue to be creative — and not just in the area of video games.”Nintendo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its groundbreaking platformer “Super Mario Bros.” throughout the year, culminating with the Sept. 11 release of “Super Mario Maker.” The new game allows users to construct and upload their own “Super Mario” levels.The designers at Universal, which has in recent years achieved success with Harry Potter-themed areas in its parks, likely won’t have it as easy as “Mario Maker” players.“That’s the challenge put forth to Universal Studios,” said Miyamoto. “How do you take something digital and bring it into the real world in a way that people can experience it in real life? That’s where we’re working together.”Online:https://mario.nintendo.comFollow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.