Ottawa, ON – The strike at CN is a major disruption to the Canadian economy, according to a statement issued by the Freight Management Association of Canada.
CN accounts for more than half of the 42,000 km rail network in Canada. The revenues of CN compared to its main competitor, CP are indicative of the size and scope of CN’s operations. At the end of the third quarter, CN’s gross revenue was $11.3 Billion compared to CP’s $5.7 billion.
“Major service disruptions like this strike cause significant losses and layoffs throughout many industries” said Bob Ballantyne, FMA President. “Beyond the immediate impact to CN and its customers, the resulting impacts on exporters and importers, on manufacturers, on ports, on connecting railways in Canada and the U.S., and on empty container and rail car supply cannot be overstated. The ripple effects will be felt across the North American economy”, he added.
“It should also be noted that, CP and the trucking industry will not be able to handle the additional workload”, Ballantyne added.
Canada is a nation of “big geography” and an economy that depends heavily on the effective transport of bulk commodities for export over long distances to Canada’s ports. Many of the consumer goods that Canadians need also depend on effective rail transportation from port to store. Canada’s retailers import using intermodal containers and depend on the railways to move those containers effectively and efficiently across the country, and this is particularly critical during this peak retail season. This strike will impact the economy in eastern Canada as well as in the west.
The member companies of FMA have communicated their concerns to the Canadian government and also to CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. If the parties can’t negotiate a settlement, the federal government will need take early action to limit the damage of this strike.