MONTREAL, Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI), said today the railway's reach, service, innovation, understanding of its customers' markets and commitment to delivering safely make it a true backbone of the economy. Mongeau, speaking to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, said many are unaware of the significance of CN and railways to their daily lives. The fact is that CN moves more than C$250-billion worth of natural resources, industrial products and consumer goods annually, making the company "intimately and extensively involved in just about every sector of the economy," Mongeau said. Mongeau cited a range of ways in which CN matters to the economy. In the West, CN and the rail industry are "a pillar of Canadian grain competitiveness and a core part of a supply chain that calls for continuous and dynamic engagement from the Prairie countryside to the waterfront. Canadian railways are a key part of the solution, offering rail freight rates that are among the lowest in the world and a focus on service excellence designed to help Canadian farmers win in global markets." In the East, CN is extensively involved in moving industrial products, Mongeau said. For example, CN touches a substantial portion of the forest products and metals produced in Quebec, providing timely access to markets in the rest of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. CN concentrates on the first and last mile of its interaction with customers, delivering speed and reliability with a high level of car order fulfillment. CN is also intimately involved in the movement of containers destined for consumer markets. "This is another area where CN has introduced fundamental innovation, inviting all the key players in the supply chain to participate in framework collaboration agreements that open end-to-end visibility and focus on joint performance metrics that break down silos and smooth the flow of consumer goods."