The Canadian Pacific Railway, an essential factor in delivering potash to the market in the U.S. and ports for shipment around the globe, will resume operation Tuesday after a deal was reached with striking union members.
“CP is pleased to have reached agreement with the (Teamsters Rail Conference Canada union) Negotiating Committee to enter into binding arbitration and end this work stoppage,” said Keith Creel, the company’s president and CEO. “This agreement enables us to return to work effective noon Tuesday local time to resume our essential services for our customers and the North American supply chain.”
Canada is the largest producer of potash in the world and producing companies like Nutrien and Mosaic depend on the railroad to transport the input.
“We are very pleased normal operations are resuming at one of the major transporters of agricultural products,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “Every additional day of the shutdown would have imposed a compounding negative impact on agriculture and the broader economy.”
Canadian Pacific followed through with an earlier threat at one minute after midnight on Saturday and locked out railroad employees after labor talks broke down with the Teamsters Rail Conference Canada union. Shortly thereafter, the union declared a strike.
But Tuesday the union said it will abide by the deal.
“The decision to agree to final and binding arbitration is not taken lightly,” said TCRC spokesman Dave Fulton, “While arbitration is not the preferred method, we were able to negotiate terms and conditions that were in the best interest of our members.”
U.S. lawmakers and farm groups had been petitioning the Biden administration to get involved. The fact that neither Russia nor Belarus is exporting its potash added weight to the impact of the CP shutdown.
“This issue should have been dealt with proactively, but thankfully the Canadian Pacific Railway strike has come to an end,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said in a statement Tuesday. “I urge all sides to stay at the table to come to a final resolution.”
The new deal clears the way for Nutrien to see the benefits of its plan to increase potash production. The company announced recently that it is ramping up production capacity with the goal of producing about 15 million metric tons, 1 million more tons than Nutrien had previously planned. The extra capacity is expected to come online in the second half of this year.
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