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Mounting impact of CN Rail blockades on ports of Montreal and Vancouver

As blockades paralyzing virtually the entire CN Rail network by indigenous groups opposed to a large pipeline project in British Columbia entered an 11th day, the negative impact was mounting on Canada’s two leading ports on the west and east coasts, Vancouver and Montreal.

Prime Minister Trudeau, who cut short a trip to the Caribbean to hold an emergency cabinet meeting today (Feb. 17), was under growing pressure from business and political circles to force an end the widely-perceived illegal blockades. But he has been so far reluctant to do so, putting his faith in negotiations, affirming that Canada is not a country “where politicians get to tell the police what to do in operational matters.”

Emerging from the cabinet meeting in mid-afternoon Monday as well as talks with premiers and indigenous leaders, Mr. Trudeau said his government was committed to finding a quick and peaceful resolution. But he offered no details.

“We calculate that there are today between 60 and 70 ships waiting off the West Coast as a result of the supply chain disruptions,” indicated Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Vancouver-based Chamber of Shipping.

“It is regrettable,” he told Maritime Magazine, “that Transport Canada has still not convened the supply chain partners. “The conflict has underlined the vulnerability of the supply chain. A broader issue is the protection of the supply chain.”