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Operations At Canadian National Resume

FreightWaves

Operations at Canadian National (NYSE: CNI) are returning to normal days after the railway and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced a tentative end to an eight-day strike.

TCRC said operations resumed at 6:00 a.m. local time across Canada on Nov. 27. Canadian National (CN) conductors, transpersons and yard workers went on strike on Nov. 19. The strike has hit supply chains across Canada, bringing trade disruptions, goods shortages and layoffs.

The terms of the deal between CN and TCRC have not been disclosed, but TCRC said the agreement would need to be ratified by Teamsters members via secret-ballot electronic voting. Union meetings will be held across the country to explain the terms of the agreement to members in a process that will likely take several months, the union said. 

Ending the strike sent ripple effects across the supply chain. For instance, 70 members of the union Unifor had received notice at Autoport in Halifax that they had received layoff notices, but those notices have been rescinded, according to Unifor. 

Shippers said their operations were also affected by the strike. The Mining Association of Canada said the strike "was deeply felt by the sector."

The association stated on a Nov. 26, "The impacts felt by the week-long strike resulted in costly disruptions for Canadian mining companies, many of whom incurred significant impacts over the last seven days, including lost sales and customers...These impacts will continue to be felt for the foreseeable future as it takes approximately a week to move the backlog created per day of disrupted service." The mining industry accounted for 52.3% of rail freight revenues generated in 2018, the association said.

Saskatchewan-based fertilizer producer Nutrien said it would be shutting down its largest potash mine for two weeks starting Dec. 2 because of the rail strike. Even though the strike has ended, Nutrien still plans to shut down the mine, according to the Financial Post.

"It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry," said Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro. 

Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) said interchange traffic moving through Rouses Point, New York has resumed. Customers should expect some delays until service returns to schedule, Norfolk Southern said in a Nov. 27 operations note.

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