Fertilizer Canada warns on rail strike

Trade group Fertilizer Canada has warned that a potential rail strike will seriously harm the sector and urged government to resolve the dispute between Canadian Pacific Railway and a trade union.

 Fertilizer group worried about rail strike impact

Fertilizer group worried about rail strike impact

The Teamster's Canada Rail Conference union on March 17 issued a 72-hour strike notice on the rail line, which carries commodities including potash. 

"A work stoppage compromises Canada's position as a leading global fertilizer supplier and could result in fertilizer production facilities being forced to shut-in production, impacting Canadian workers, the economy, and food security," Fertilizer Canada said.

"Our members, which include manufacturers of essential nitrogen and potash fertilizers, are already beginning to feel the impacts as preparation for a work stoppage begins." 

With 75% of all fertilizer in Canada moved by rail, members of the trade group are critically dependent on rail service to move products across the country and into international markets. 

There is no other alternative transportation method that currently has capacity or can be brought online in time to mitigate the impact of the work stoppage, Fertilizer Canada said. 

Independently, the Mosaic Company, Nutrien and K+S Potash Canada move domestic potash with CP, primarily to the U.S. Midwest for local application.  

All potash shipments for export beyond Canada and the U.S. are marketed by Canpotex Limited, a joint venture of Nutrien and the Mosaic Company, or K+S Potash Canada 

Fertilizer Canada highlighted that spring is a crucial season for seeding and farmers were dependent on supply of fertilizer to maximize crop yields.  

The group demanded that the government the federal government ensure that the rail firm and union entered into binding arbitration, and if necessary, be prepared to enact legislation to swiftly put an end to the potential rail work stoppage. 

"The agricultural sector is already experiencing supply challenges compounded by the war in Ukraine and cannot withstand anymore disruption," the trade group said.

"The 2021 growing season saw lower crop yields due to weather conditions. Food security in Canada and internationally depends on maximizing crops this season and fertilizer is critical to this." 

Fertilizer Canada represents manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers.

Leading potash supplier Nutrien has already called on the Canadian government to prevent a rail strike. 

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the farming sector, brought to you by the Kondinin team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the farming sector, brought to you by the Kondinin team.


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