GLADU: A rail strike is the last thing Canada’s supply chain needs
On March 16, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) will be in a position to go on strike starting just after midnight EDT should talks fail between both parties. The potential strike would affect more than 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, train persons, and yard persons working at CP Rail.
Canadian manufacturers need to move 4,500 railcars per day to maintain our supply chain. Sectors like agriculture and auto manufacturing will be the hardest hit by any disruption, due to the inability to get feed for their livestock or parts for their products. Mining related enterprises move 20% of their material by rail, so this is a significant issue as well.
Even under normal circumstances, the impacts of a strike would be major – affecting $425 million in goods every day. However, circumstances are not normal. Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to supply disruptions and longer order lead times. The current sanctions on Russia in response to their invasion of Ukraine, while crippling Putin’s economy, also have an impact on the smooth flow of goods in other parts of the world.
A new survey by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters found nine out of 10 companies are grappling with supply chain issues. More than half said the disruptions are having a major or severe effect on operations.
Political parties, agricultural organizations, the automotive sector, and economists have all been urging the government to step in to ensure the supply chain doesn’t take another hit. While formal arbitration talks are ongoing, Conservatives are calling on the Federal government to find a resolution to this dispute promptly before it becomes another crisis in the supply chain.