Canada’s retailers and manufacturers are braced for shutdowns and dwindling supplies as demonstrators blocked ports and rail lines, bringing much of the country’s rail-freight network to a halt.
More than 400 freight trains have been idled since the blockades were set up in British Columbia and Ontario.
CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said on Wednesday that Canada’s largest railway has been forced to park freight trains across its network. He repeated a warning that CN’s coast-to-coast rail system is at risk of shutting down.
Protesters in Southeastern Ontario have blocked the Canadian National Railway Co.’s main line since February 6th while a blockade in northern British Columbia has rail traffic backed up to Saskatchewan. A new blockade popped up on the CN main line west of Winnipeg on Wednesday. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he would immediately seek a court injunction and have it enforced within days.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, whose members typically load about 4,500 rail cars a day, urged government officials to work with police to restore service on the tracks.
“In Canada there’s not really other alternatives to move stuff around. The highways and trucks – especially in Quebec and southern Ontario – are already at a very, very high utilization of available capacity,” association president Dennis Darby said in an interview.
Read the CN release;