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CanadaIntermodalInternationalNewsRailTrucking

Canadian carrier ‘burning candle at both ends’ during rail blockades

Montreal-based Energy Transportation Group moving on loads of bulk commodities as nervous shippers lose patience with two-week disruption of Canada’s rail services from pipeline protests.

When protesters began disrupting Canadian National’s network more than two weeks ago, Shawn Girard, CEO of Montreal-based Energy Transportation Group, told his team to prepare to find trucks and trailers for freight that normally travels by rail.

This week, the calls started pouring in to the trucking and logistics company from shippers seeking to move bulk commodities including metals to nervous factories. The company is moving plenty of alcohol and food to boot.

“We’ve been burning the candle at both ends,” Girard told FreightWaves.

The shipments extend well beyond the Toronto-Montreal freight corridor hardest hit by the shutdown of CN’s Eastern Canada network. One customer needed eight truckloads to British Columbia, Girard said.

“Volumes had been kind of stagnant recently. This really disrupted our daily routine,” he said.

The immediate fate of the disruption of Canada’s supply chains may hinge on a meeting Friday between indigenous leaders from British Columbia and protesters encamped near Canadian National’s tracks — smack in the middle of the Toronto-Montreal corridor.

Wet’suwet’en leaders are set to meet with Mohawk protesters in Ontario. The Mohawks are blocking CN’s rail lines as an act of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en leaders who oppose the route of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline through their territory.

The blockade prompted the railway to suspend all service on its Eastern Network for safety reasons. 

The meeting follows efforts by federal officials to help negotiate an end to the blockades, whose impacts on Canada’s supply chain and economy mount with each day.

Canada’s supply-chain troubles worsen

At least one major shipping line, Atlantic Container Lines, began diverting vessels from the Port of Halifax, and another, Hapag-Lloyd, is considering diversions. Termont, which operates two of the Port of Montreal Terminals, warned truckers of mounting delays because of the CN disruption.

The Outbound Tender Volume Index for Montreal on FreightWaves' SONAR platform
The volume of freight coming out of Montreal has declined since pipeline protesters began disrupting CN’s rail network in February, according to the Outbound Tender Volume Index on FreightWaves’ SONAR platform.

The blockades have hit Montreal especially hard, particularly intermodal truckload carriers. Overall trucking freight volumes have plunged since the blockades began disrupting CN’s rails more than two weeks ago, according to FreightWaves’ SONAR platform.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss the blockades with the provincial premiers Thursday evening and likely will face questions about what steps his government plans to take to ensure the barricades come down.

Bill Blair, minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had offered to pull out of Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia in hopes of bringing an end to solidarity protests in multiple parts of Canada.

Provincial authorities in Ontario, like their federal counterparts, have pushed for a peaceful solution to the blockades rather than trying to remove them by force.

While the protests specifically deal with a gas pipeline’s path through Wet’suwet’en territory, they have also become a rallying point for long-standing grievances among indigenous Canadians over larger issues of sovereignty and disenfranchisement.

A recent Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News found that about two-thirds of Canadians disagree with the protests, but three-fourths believe that the government needs to take immediate action to support indigenous communities.

Girard expressed hope that the federal government will soon help bring a peaceful end to the blockades and restore normalcy to the supply chain.

“We can’t do anything about this. So until our leaders solve this issue and have the railroads back up and running, we’ll do whatever we can to get freight where it needs to be,” Girard said.

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Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist who covers cross-border trucking, logistics and trade for FreightWaves. Before moving to Canada, he spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at ntabak@freightwaves.com.

7 Comments

  1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

    I don’t see this de-escalating any time soon , but rather the opposite .

    Quote:
    February 21 2020
    Blockades arise from lack of meaningful dialogue with First Nations: SCO Grand Chief

    Quote :
    February 22 2020

    Traffic slowed on Canso Causeway as protesters display solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation .

    IMHO

  2. A number of trucking companies shut down in nov or dec 2019 Many well managed trucking companies have been reducing trucks on the road since Dec 2019 some have 10 to 15 percent of their trucks parked as drivers quit they are not being replaced with the very tough insurance market in Ontario Canada. A number of taxis in Ontario Canada are doing the same thing in 2020. We need understand why the protest happened but get the railroad line reopened A S A P. I talked to some Indian people on Jan 24 of 2020 at queens park no government people were even wanting to talk to them so I understand their frustration but a 24 blocking of the railroad was enough. But government people didn’t take them seriously. There would be no shortage of trucks or truck drivers in Ontario Canada if a government run insurance company ran in competition to the private with a 50 percent subsidized wheelchair van rate and a 30 percent subsidized rate for truck training schools and new truck drivers with small companies of under 25 trucks for the first year of the new truck driver in a junior team for the first 6 months.

    1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & PROSPER ! IMHO says:

      Quote:
      “a 24 blocking of the railroad was enough.”

      You have no clue about what you’re speaking of . When the “Land Protectors”(Mohawks) get involved it’s about respecting FN’s rights and their territories . Until their conditions are met on their UNCEDED land , we shall remain at an impasse that could potentially escalate far more than you can imagine . Quebec has been down this road before . The “Land Protectors” put up one heck of a battle and they WON back in 1990 ! Till this day the UNCEDED land they fought for remains under their control and no silly capitalist Golf Course nor Real Estate was built on their UNCEDED land !

      Currently FN have been extremely civilized . These people will fight tooth & nail to defend their land rights . That’s what the “warrior spirit” is all about . Just don’t attempt to make them bend by bullying them with aggressive law enforcement tactics without expecting them to retaliate fiercely .

      There is no need for aggression . Civility , reasonability , and respect is key . What occurred in 1990 could have been much worse if “The Land Protector Mohawk Women” would have given the warriors the go ahead, for the warriors cede to nobody but them . This ain’t some little protesting organized labour union my friend . These are warriors that eat swat for breakfast .

      In my humble opinion ………

      1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

        UPDATE !

        As I pointed out :

        Quote:
        February 23 2020
        “Wet’suwet’en protests: Violent ends to past confrontations haunt Trudeau’s government

        There is absolutely NO REASON to have this situation escalate into a violent confrontation . The government should keep in mind that they are walking on egg shells in this matter . Law enforcement is not equipped to take on the Mohawks in combat .

        I have no idea what the current Mohawk strategy is or if they even have one , and or if they learned from their 1990 mistakes . Had they organized themselves better in 1990, the Canadian army could never have approached them as closely as they did on land . They should have limited a potential hostile opponent strike to an air strike .

        There are only 3 possibilities . Land , water , and air . They could have easily eliminated 2 out of three and concentrated on the 1 from air .

        From my perspective , upon viewing their current barricade set ups , they haven’t strategized nor prepared for a potential violent escalation leading to combat . Otherwise we would see trenches etc . Weather is an important factor as well . It’s much easier to counter the armed forces thermal imaging equipment in summer than it is in winter . Not impossible but easier .

        The main objective should be to reduce the potential loss of life and injury on both sides . Keep in mind that the opposing party have brainwashed their “soldiers” . Many are kids . They are stuck in a manipulated psychological mould .

        By anticipating tactics and outsmarting them , you don’t need to cause harm and can easily prevent it . Do not underestimate , anticipate and strategize with perfection leaving no stone unturned !

        If you strategize well , you render combat extremely difficult for the opposing party to ensue , thus strategically manoeuvring them to “negotiate” in a reasonable and civilized manner .

        Brains & wisdom will defeat bullets & tanks etc any day !

        In my humble opinion ……..

  3. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

    quote :

    Regina protesters tell Andrew Scheer to check his privilege in latest Wet’suwet’en rally

    Lee Prosper spoke at the “Check Scheer’s Privilege Rally” in Regina on Feb. 21 at his constituency office on Albert Street Connor O’Donovan / Global News
    Prosper has grown up feeling the intergenerational impacts of residential schools himself.
    “In my bloodline we haven’t seen a year of peace or a day of peace without any kind of racism, and I feel like I’m standing here continuing to be involved in the same racism,” said Prosper.”

    End quote .

    REQUOTE : “Prosper has grown up feeling the intergenerational impacts of residential schools himself.”

    I mentioned this on :
    Canadian rail line blockades ‘need to come down now,’ Trudeau says , on Freightwaves .

    The atrocious abuse FN have been victims to in regards to Residential Schools runs deep among their people and has scarred them deeply and the effects have been felt in newer generations rendering newer generations victims of its effects as well .

    On another note . Mohawks should not forget how civilians retaliated towards their women and children under law enforcement eyes when their women and children were leaving hostile grounds in 1990 . Those civilian cowards were throwing rocks and stones at unarmed FN women and their children while Quebec law enforcement did nothing but watch .

    I mention this due to current anti protestor civilians getting involved and removing blockades . Canadian law enforcement should not allow civilians to remove blockades . It’s a Canadian law enforcement duty to remove those blockades on Canadian land , not an anti protesting civilian duty . A little law enforcement common sense can prevent civilians from escalating a conflict into a potential violent one .

    Truck drivers who advocate shutting down should learn from this . You don’t want to engender a plan that will lead to causing consumer hardship . This is not the 70’s . The last thing you need is for consumers to turn on you , rebel against you, and retaliate due to your primitive attempt to be heard while advocating a change in YOUR favor . There are much better ways of achieving this without engendering a risk of it leading to potential chaos which may put your wellbeing in harms way .

    THINK BEFORE YOU ACT AND DO SOMETHING STUPID WHICH YOU MAY REGRET !

    In my humble opinion ………

    1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

      Watch Rocks at Whiskey Trench

  4. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:


    .

    HERE IS AN EYE OPENER ! Look it up on Youtube

    EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Before the raid: Tour of the Wyman Rd camp on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. 23/02/20

    FAST FORWARD TO 8:15

    It shows you that the Mohawks never blocked the railroad on their Tyendinaga Territory near Belleville Ontario as the media would have the public believe . There was no FN barricade on that railroad !!! NONE ! They were around it but never blocked it !

    Even Freightwaves is showing you a bias picture in this article rendering you to believe that this is what occurred on Mohawk Tyendinaga Territory , which IS NOT THE CASE !

    Beware of the misleading Propaganda !

    IMHO ………..

    ..

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