More than 80% of FPAC member mills are 'captive' to single railway provider, says CEO, as government tables back-to-work legislation to end Canadian Pacific Railway workers' strike

OTTAWA , May 28, 2012 (press release) – The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the government's action to move forward on back to work legislation to bring to an end the ongoing strike by CP's freight conductors and switching yard employees. The industry encouraged all parliamentarians to support this legislation to prevent further disruption to the economy.

"The forest products industry is one of Canada's single largest users of freight rail services, annually shipping millions of tonnes of finished product," said Catherine Cobden, President and CEO of FPAC. "Rail transportation is especially important for an export-dependent economy such as Canada's where delivering products to markets swiftly and economically is a key to the country's overall competitiveness."

"Over 80 percent of our members' mills are "captive" to a single railway provider, this strike underscores the fact that increased competition in the rail carrier business in Canada would create options for Canadian businesses to get their products to market more effectively," said Cobden. "We're currently estimating the daily loss to Canada's forest sector by CP's recent work stoppage to be $22 million, but we're equally concerned with the impact mill shut downs will have on our employees and their communities."

"A prolonged dispute would have disastrous economic consequences for Canada's economy and its reputation as a reliable supplier, and we welcome the government's action," added Cobden.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.

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