February 13, 2020 By P&PC Staff
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has issued a statement detailing the industry’s serious concern over the recent disruptions to Canada’s rail transport system.
“Canada’s forest products sector generates over $73 billion in annual economic activity, ships to 180 countries around the world, and is responsible for 10 per cent of the total tonnage moved along Canada’s railway lines,” says Derek Nighbor, FPAC president and CEO.
“The disruptions we are seeing across the rail system – many of them unlawful – are impacting our ability to get raw materials to our facilities and to deliver to our customer
Since Feb. 6, a blockade at a rail crossing near Belleville, Ontario has halted rail service from running in both directions between Montreal and Toronto and Toronto and Ottawa.
The blockade in Tyendinaga Township is one of many being held across Canada in support of British Columbia’s Wet’suwet’en Nation, whose hereditary chiefs are protesting the construction of the province’s Coastal GasLink pipeline that would pass through their territory.
A court injunction has been ordered for Wet’suwet’en chiefs to allow workers access to the land to begin the project, but they have not consented.
The Ontario blockades have forced passenger service on VIA Rail and freight traffic on CN Rail to stop, affecting billions of dollars of exports in forestry, oil and grain products.
“Some companies are now in a position that they can’t guarantee delivery dates to customers – a massive business risk and a dark cloud over Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner,” says Nighbor.
“We need our federal government to take urgent action in working with provincial governments and authorities to uphold the rule of law, get the trains moving, and keep our workers working.”
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