February 18, 2020 – Over the two weeks, the Canadian National Railway Co. (CN Rail) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) have been experiencing considerable backlogs due to a number of rail blockades on their network. As a result, Canadian and U.S. businesses that rely on the rail network to move their goods are facing a significant disruption in their supply chain. Essentially, cargo is either moving very slowly, or not at all.
Disruption at Canadian Pacific Railway
A blockade on CP Rail’s main line, south of Montreal, is impacting train movements between Montreal, QC and Albany, NY. Traffic is building in and around St. Luc with no practical re-routing alternatives. CP Rail has issued an embargo, effective February 17, to control the flow of shipments over this part of the network. The embargo affects all shipments routing over the interchanges of St. Jeans, QC, Albany, NY, Whitehall, NY, Schenectady, NY and Bellows Falls, NY.
Disruption at Canadian National Railway
The blockades in Vancouver, BC, New Hazelton, BC and Headingley, MB have been removed. While service has resumed on these lines, CN Rail is still recovering from the disruption caused by the forced service stoppage. A new blockade has been established south of Winnipeg, which is affecting some trail traffic moving south into the United States.
In Eastern Canada, the blockade in Tyendinaga, ON, is ongoing and CN Rail’s network east of Belleville,ON, remains shut down. A blockade established on in Vaughan, ON was removed on February 16.
At this point, it’s impossible to determine when the blockades will be removed, and service restored. Once CN Rail is able to return to its regular operations, it’ll take some time for the backlog to be cleared up and for service times to return to normal.