Market News & Headlines >> Canadian Rail Strike Impact Mounts

The toll exacted on Canada’s economy by a strike at the nation’s largest railroad, Canadian National Railway Co. continued to mount on Monday as a fertilizer company was forced to plan production cutbacks while grain exporters warned buyers they could not fulfill sales terms.

 At least 35 vessels were reported waiting at Canada's West Coast to load grain shipments as of Monday morning. The Vancouver Grain Exchange, an association of Canadian West Coast exporters of wheat, canola and other crops, declared an "event of delay" on Friday due to the strike, Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association told Reuters News Service. 

The declaration is similar to force majeure, and allows all British Columbia grain shippers, including Cargill Ltd, Richardson International and Viterra Inc, to avoid penalties for late delivery due to circumstances outside their control, said Sobkowich. 

Fertilizer producer Nutrien on Monday said it was preparing to shut down its largest potash mine, at Rocanville, Saskatchewan, for two weeks effective Dec. 2 because of the strike. 

Meanwhile, around 300 farmers, angry at a shortage of propane they need to dry grain, gathered with a dozen tractors near the prime minister's parliamentary office in Montreal on Monday to demand the government do more to end the strike. Some farmers held bags of grain and signs that read "Propane - it's not just for barbecues" and "To dry grain, you need propane." 

As the strike by some 3,200 unionized employees entered its seventh day, labor union Teamsters Canada said it was no closer to an agreement than it was at the beginning of what has become Canada's biggest rail strike in a decade.