OTTAWA, CANADA - Canada's forest products industries stand to lose $22 million daily as a result of a strike by the Canadian Pacific Railway workers union. Canadian Labour Minister Lisa Raitt ordered binding arbitation to settle the dispute involving 4,800 striking railway workers who began striking May 23.
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), meanwhile, applauded a separate effort Monday as the Canadian Parliament took up legislation to force an end to the ongoing strike by Canadian Pacific freight conductors and switch yard employees.
"The forest products industry is one of Canada's single largest users of freight rail services, annually shipping millions of tons of finished product," said FPAC president Catherine Cobden, in a statement.
"Over 80 percent of our members' mills are captive to a single railway provider. This strike underscores the fact that increased competition in the rail carrier business in Canada would create options for Canadian businesses to get their products to market more effectively." Cobden puts the daily loss to Canada's forest sector at $22 million.
Canadian Pacific, which has called for the union to re-enter talks, says its forest products business consists of lumber, panel, and pulp and paper products moving primarily from Ontario and British Columbia to the U.S. and to Asia through Port Metro Vancouver.
It also handles lumber, panel, and oriented strand board products through major reload centees in Kamloops and Edmonton, Alberta.
An integrated network of track, specialized facilities and partnerships with U.S. and Mexican carriers links to a network of transload facilities, moving forest products in all major wood products production areas in Canada, including British Columbia, northern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, according to Canadian Pacific.
Canadian Pacific says it has introduced key developments in protection for transporting and handling forest products, such as high-quality airbags to prevent damage.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.