CP's operating ratio, excluding significant items, was 74.8% for the fourth quarter of the year which the company says compares favourably with 2011's operating-ratio of 78.5%. Reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter inclusive of significant items was $C 0.08, which compared with $C 1.30 in 2011, after the railway announced a $C 53m labour restructuring charge, a $C 185m impairment of Powder River Basin and other investments, and an $C 80m asset impairment of certain locomotives, all of which impacted EPS by $C 1.20. Significant items in 2011 impacted diluted EPS by 25 cents.

Mr E Hunter Harrison, CP's CEO, who was brought in with the reputation of running a disciplined railway and the promise of addressing CP's high operating ratio following the ousting of previous CEO Mr Fred Green and board chairman Mr John Cleghorn (IRJ August 2012 p21), says that CP "is moving forward on its journey to become the most efficient railroad in North America."

"This quarter, CP saw strong operating performance as we continued to implement significant changes to how we run the railroad," he says. "Management made a number of hard decisions this quarter including booking several significant items. With these decisions now behind us, we anticipate record-setting financial and operational results starting in 2013."

Indeed, in 2013 CP expects to report high single-digit revenue growth, an operating ratio in the low 70s and diluted EPS to be up in excess of 40% compared with 2012. These are based on expectations that fuel costs are on average $US 3.45 per gallon, tax rate of 25-27%, and the Canadian to US dollar exchange rate remaining at par.