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NGFA urges Canadian Industrial Relations Board to prevent rail strike

The call for action comes amidst tense negotiations between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and major Canadian rail companies.

Railway Tracks Midwest Pixabay

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has called on the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to take action to avert a potential rail strike or lockout, citing serious consequences for Canada’s agricultural sector and global food security. NGFA submitted its comments on May 21 amid ongoing negotiations between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railways.

In its comments, NGFA highlighted the significant dependency of many of its member companies on rail services that transit through Canada. A rail strike or lockout, NGFA warned, "would lead to ripple effects across the entire industry," severely impacting the movement of essential agricultural products.

The livestock industry, which relies on rail for the delivery of corn and other feed grains, and sectors such as biofuels, flour milling, and agricultural export facilities, require uninterrupted rail service. NGFA emphasized that a stoppage would "materially harm Canada’s farmgate prices for commodities, Canada’s ag shippers and exporters, and its global customers."

NGFA also noted the impracticality of using trucking as an alternative for many agricultural shippers due to high-volume needs and long distances involved. "The impact of a strike would be particularly severe," the association stated.

Concluding its comments, NGFA stressed the critical importance of operational railroads for agricultural production and food distribution, thanking the Board for its attention to this pressing supply chain issue.

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