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Boxcar Auction Program

CN Boxcar (CAP)

CN is offering a Car Auction Program (CAP) for customers who wish to have a guarantee on a portion of their weekly boxcar supply requirements in times of high demand. The program applies to locations that use the CN car order process. 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

General information

This program is for shipments from customers directly served by CN or by CN partner shortlines, moving in boxcars. 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 as part of the regular pool.


Participants are invited to make Auction Car Offers for a weekly car guaranteed allocation at or above the minimum price of $100 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 car allotment for the customer mill
  • A car unit consists of 1 60ft Plate F boxcar or 1 50ft Plate F boxcar
  • Participants may submit a CAP request between Thursday 14:00ET and Friday 12:00ET by filling out and sending one of the electronic forms referenced below this section (bid amount per car by CCO, with number of cars required)
  • A minimum bid of $100 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. The customer will see their car confirmation increase by the same amount of awarded CAP cars (Friday pm).


Auctionable cars will be allocated to the highest bidders on a first come-first serve basis. The weekly auction will begin Thursdays at 14:00 ET and end on Fridays 1200 ET. 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 car orders 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 confirmed 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 200  
CN confirmed orders 150  
Customer Auction Bid   Bid for 50 Cap cars at $100 per car (minimum bid)
Customer Auction Award  50 50 cars awarded through CAP
Revised Allocation 200  

 If CN delivers 200 cars: CN fulfill its obligation and charges 50 cars times bid amount/car (minimum bid of $100/car)
 If CN delivers 175 cars: CN to issue an invoice for 25 cars times bid amount/car (minimum bid of $100/car)
 If CN delivers <=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 teams:

Frequently Asked Questions for CN Boxcar Auction Program