Canadian meat industry disrupted by protesters blocking the railway
Protests initiated by Indigenous groups in Canada, who have blocked the railway system in several parts of the country, is threatening the red meat industry, as disruption appeared in the supply chain may block operations in meat processing plants and farms across the country.
"We are urging the government to seek a resolution and find a long-term viable solution for all parties. Ongoing disruptions affect Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner and the uncertainty is extremely detrimental to our members who rely on the rail system as a key delivery mechanism for their product" said Chris White, President of the Canadian Meat Council.
After getting impacted by the CN rail workers strike last fall, the meat industry’s supply chain and global distribution infrastructure are once again being interrupted as blockades are being set up across the country. Alternatives to rail transport are more expensive, a cost that is not passed on to the consumer, and have a great impact on the Canadian meat industry competitiveness.
"Not being able to rely on our transportation infrastructure is an added burden on an industry still reeling from trade issues with China, the country’s second-biggest market for pork," explained Trevor Sears, CEO of Canada Pork International.
"On the production side, we are monitoring the situation in case delayed fuel shipments cause a shortage in some areas. Pork producers rely on propane and natural gas to heat up their barns and ensure their animals are housed comfortably" said John Ross, Executive Director at the Canadian Pork Council.
Canada regained access in the Chinese meat market in November but shipments to this destination are going slow after a 6 months suspension. On the other hand, China has its own problems in transportation and logistics due to the coronavirus situation.
In June 2018, a two-week strike of Brazilian transporters had impacted the meat industry in the country, with a drop of 60% in the revenue. A similar impact may appear in the Canadian market if the blockade will persist. For now, the government has decided not to use force against the protesters that are blocking the railway.
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