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Manufacturing sector hit hard as CN shuts down eastern rail corridor

February 14, 2020  

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Canadian National Railway Co. has shut down operations in Eastern Canada as its rail lines continue to be blocked by anti-pipeline protesters, the country’s biggest railroad operator said on Thursday.

The protests by an indigenous community opposing the construction of a gas pipeline project in British Columbia and its supporters have disrupted passenger trains and goods transportation for the seventh straight day.

The shutdown will continue until the blockades end and may lead to temporary layoffs within its Eastern Canadian operational staff, the company told Reuters.

“With over 400 trains canceled during the last week and new protests that emerged at strategic locations on our mainline, we have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take,” Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest said in a statement.

The company’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail also said it would cancel all of its services on the network, effective immediately.

“This is devastating news for the manufacturing sector which heavily relies on rail transportation and, the overall Canadian economy,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.