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Canadian Pacific Railway profile

By | May 1, 2020

Historic Canadian railroad now serves most of Canada but also reaches Chicago and certain north-central US cities

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A Canadian Pacific heritage locomotive appears in Illinois in 2019.
Steve Smedley


Canadian Pacific summary
Canadian Pacific Railway Limited is a railroad holding company based in Calgary, Alberta. Its network extends over about 12,700 route miles from British Columbia to New Brunswick connecting ocean ports with the U.S. Midwest and principal cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

CP is primarily an east-west railroad moving freight between the U.S. Midwest and central Canada to Pacific Ocean ports. It competes with Canadian National in Canada and to a lesser extent BNSF Railway and Union Pacific in moving imported intermodal goods to the central U.S. Canadian Pacific connects with five other Class I railroads in Chicago and with railroads through other cities such as Detroit and Buffalo in the U.S. and in Toronto and Montreal, in Canada. It employed 12,694 workers at the end of 2019.

Canadian Pacific logo
Canadian Pacific history
CP was Canada’s first transcontinental railroad, completed in 1885. The company expanded throughout the 20th century, developing energy, shipping, airline, and hotel businesses. Reorganized in 1971, the railway operated as a subsidiary of parent company Canadian Pacific, Ltd., until October 4, 2001, when it was spun off as a separate entity, the Canadian Pacific Railway.

CP owns the 5,139-mile Soo Line Railroad, which runs from Chicago through Milwaukee and Minneapolis to Duluth and two points on the Canadian border, one near Winnipeg and one in Saskatchewan.

Long-time owner of 56% of the Soo Line, Canadian Pacific became its full owner in 1990. Although the Soo technically remains a separate corporation, it is operated as part of the CP system.

CP’s lines in the eastern U.S. belong to the Delaware & Hudson, which dates from 1823 and claims to be the country’s oldest continuously operating transportation company.

Canadian Pacific industrial mix
In 2019, Canadian Pacific told the SEC that grain traffic comprised 22% of revenue on the railroad followed by intermodal traffic, 21%; energy, chemicals and plastics, 20%; metals minerals and consumer products, 10%; coal, 9%; potash, 6%; automotive, 5%; forest products, 4%; and fertilizers and sulphur, 3%.

Keith Creel, Canadian Pacific CEO
Canadian Pacific
Canadian Pacific executive officers (as of December 2019)
•Keith E. Creel, president and chief executive officer
•Nadeem S. Velani, executive vice-president and chief financial officer
•John K. Brooks, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer
•Laird J. Pitz, senior vice-president and chief risk officer
•Mark A. Redd, executive vice-president operations
•Robert A. Johnson, retired executive vice-president operations

CP selected 2019 financial details (totals may not balance due to rounding)
Balance sheet:
Total assets: C$22.4 billion
Total liabilities: C$15.3 billion
Total shareholders’ equity: C$7.1 billion

Income statement:
Total revenues: C$7.8 billion
Total operating expenses: C$4.7 billion
Total operating income: C$3.1 billion
Total net income: C$2.4 billion

Information taken from a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. History provided by Matt Van Hattem.

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