Canadian rail workers to strike on May 22

On May 1st, an overwhelming majority of workers at Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) voted in favor of a strike. The union and rail companies will attend a mandatory 21-day period of federal mediation and, if they don’t come to an agreement, 9,900 workers could begin striking as early as May 22, 2024.

A rail strike will significantly disrupt the flow of goods, particularly the transfer of imports arriving by ocean to rail terminals. A strike may also impact the transfer of cargo between rail junction points and seaports. Grain, potash and coal shipments will be especially affected.

Those with goods set to be transported by train in the days leading up to May 22, are strongly advised to investigate whether their cargo could be impacted by this potential strike and make alternative ground transport arrangements through their freight providers.

Importers should also be aware they will be responsible for any demurrage fees associated with the storage of cargo at Canadian marine terminals resulting from this labor dispute.