Montréal, QC – CN announced that it will be forced to shut down significant parts of its Canadian network imminently unless the blockades on its rail lines are removed. Among other developments, the Port of Prince Rupert has been effectively shut down and the ports of Montreal and Halifax are beginning to feel the impact. A public statement from the individuals blocking the lines explained that their actions are in solidarity with the pipeline opposition movement and are unrelated to CN’s activities.
The blockades near Belleville, ON, on CN’s only eastern link between Western Canada and Eastern Canada and between Eastern Canada and the US Mid-West and on CN’s northern mainline in B.C. between Prince George and Prince Rupert, are impacting all Canadians’ ability to move goods and enable trade. There are currently no movements of any trains, freight or passenger, at both those locations. Hundreds of trains have been canceled since the blockades began five days ago. The impact is also being felt beyond Canada’s borders and is harming the country’s reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner.
« It’s not just passenger trains that are impacted by these blockades, it’s all Canadian supply-chains » said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN. « We are currently parking trains across our network, but due to limited available space for such, CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end.
« Intermodal containers carrying perishable goods including food and consumer items, Canadian grain, deicing fluid at airports, construction materials, propane to Quebec and Atlantic Canada, natural resources creating rural jobs across Canada such as lumber, aluminum, coal and propane; all of these commodities are already impacted and will see their movements even more diminished. Factories and mines will be soon faced with very difficult decisions. The Port of Prince Rupert is effectively already shutdown. The Ports of Montreal and Halifax are also already feeling the impact of these blockades which will have a trickledown effect on consumer goods in the next few weeks, » added Mr. Ruest.
Shaun Stevenson, the CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert, said the port has nothing to do with the Coastal GasLink project and yet its operations, and the thousands of First Nations people who work there, have become collateral damage to the protests.
« We have in excess of 6,000 people that rely on the Port of Prince Rupert, its operations and its modes and nodes of transportation, for their livelihood in northern B.C., » he said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Daybreak North. « The economic vitality of northern B.C. depends on the port. »
He said as many as 3,600 jobs – with 40 per cent of the workforce from First Nations – depend on a fully operational port. (photo PRPA)