Photo: Canadian Pacific Railway

Mar 04, 2022

Canadian Rail Strike Threatens Fertilizer Supply

Potential work stoppage comes amid concerns of shortfalls in supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

A labor dispute at one of Canada’s largest railways is threatening to further disrupt global supplies of fertilizer just as farmers need key nutrients to plant spring crops, reports Bloomberg.

About 3,000 workers at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have voted for a plan to strike March 16, if necessary, according to their union.

Canada, along with Russia and Belarus, is one of the main sources for the world’s potash, a commonly used fertilizer that contains potassium.

A potential work stoppage comes amid concerns of shortfalls in supplies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Belarus.

According to a report at the Financial Post, Nutrien, the world’s biggest crop-nutrient producer, wants the Canadian government to stop the strike because the disruption could potentially lead to smaller harvests.

Without such products, harvests could be reduced when food prices are soaring. The fertilizer supply chain is still feeling the impacts of COVID-19 as well as sanctions on Belarus and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nutrien said. Crop nutrient prices are at all-time highs amid concerns about shortfalls.

“The global food supply is already stretched and cannot afford further negative impacts at this time,” the company said Wednesday in a statement.

“We would be very disappointed to see a labor dispute have such a significant impact on global agricultural supply chains, and consequently, we would hope that the Canadian government will consider intervening to avert another transportation crisis.”

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