How rail blockades are affecting Manitoba’s truckers
WINNIPEG -- The trucking industry in Manitoba is feeling the effects of the rail shutdown in Canada.
Protests have stopped train traffic, preventing some goods from being shipped by rail.
"From phones to meat to you name it, soap," said Jeff Odway, general manager at Prairie International Container and Dray Service.
Odway said trucking business has slowed recently as the rail blockades across the country have ground a lot of train traffic to a halt. He claims it's impacting the company's bottom line.
"Let's say 120, 130 loads a week; we saw a slash of 30 loads a week which for us as a small company is dramatic," he said.
The Manitoba Trucking Association says the disruption is causing uncertainty for the trucking industry.
"What we have heard from members is we're hurting right, we haven't heard from any members this is great," said Terry Shaw from the Manitoba Trucking Association
The Retail Council of Canada says shortages and price hikes may be an issue.
It says in some cases trucks are picking up the slack for rail, keeping a portion of the supply chain going. But shipping by truck costs more, and there's a capacity limit.
If shortages occur, retailers may have to pay more to get product elsewhere.
"If you have to look to alternative sources of supply and you're forced to do so on a bit of a snap basis, you may not be able to negotiate a favourable set of prices," Karl Littler of the Retail Council of Canada said.
There's also concern the longer this goes, the higher the chance of layoffs occurring.
"I haven't heard of any specific yet, but I have heard some of our smaller rail dependent members are really at that cusp right now, what do I do with these folks," said Shaw.
Odway says his frontline staff are doing their best to serve and reassure customers.
"Unfortunately until there's a resolution we're at the mercy of what's going on,” he said.
Odway points out the blockades come in the wake of a rail strike last November and a Chinese ban on Canadian beef and pork that lasted for months last year.