Strike Hits Halifax Railcar Supply

Strike Hits Halifax Railcar Supply

Although ships are keeping their schedules at the Port of Halifax, N.S., the strike by locomotive engineers against Canadian National Railway is affecting railcar supply and some marine operations.

“We are beginning to see the impact of the strike on marine operations, with train arrival delays and railcar supply,” the port said in a statement on the strike’s fourth day.

CN runs a daily train into the port and back out, and that has continued since engineers under the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference struck the country’s largest railroad early Nov. 28. CN is using managers to run locomotives, though observers say the number of qualified managers is only a fraction of the 1,700 Teamster engineers.

Halifax spokeswoman Michele Peveril said the incoming train on Nov. 29 was 15 hours late, and the next day’s was 14 hours behind normal. But she said both CN and the Halifax terminal operators are trying to adjust, and managed to turn around the trains to depart each evening.

That is crucial to Halifax, the third-largest Canadian container port, since 70 percent of its boxes move inland by rail. The port said its 19 shipping lines continue to call there, and the railroad and terminals “are working hard to maintain rail service and minimize slowdowns.”

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.