Canada’s longest railroad strike in a decade ended last week. Operations resumed Wednesday for Canadian National Railway Co. (CN), which is the country’s biggest railroad, but shippers warned it could take weeks before
service bounces back to normal.
About half of Canada’s exports move by rail, according to industry data. The
country relies on CN and Canadian Pacific Railway to move crops, oil, potash, coal and manufactured goods to ports and the U.S.
The eight-day strike was forecast to cost the Canadian economy less than C$1 billion ($750 million) and cut fourth-quarter growth by about 0.1 percentage point, said Brian DePratto, a senior economist at TD.
“Now we can hope that things can get back to normal in quick fashion. It’s cost a lot of money to farmers already,” said Markus Haerle, chairman of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
Wet conditions stalled the harvest across much of Canada. Those crops must be dried before they can be sold, but the rail strike held up deliveries of propane, forcing farmers to use higher-priced alternatives.