A tentative agreement between CN Rail and the Teamsters Union, which represents around 2700 conductors, yardmen and other CN employees, is good news for prairie farmers.

"We're entering the fall period, typically the busiest shipping time of year, and any rail disruption at this time would limit our ability to execute our sales program," says Mark Dyck, senior manager of rail logistics with the Canadian Wheat Board. "We're hoping that it is ratified, but it is very positive that they reached the tentative agreement."

Dyck says farmers are quite vulnerable to labour issues with the raillines. "There are a number of unions for both railways, so they do seem to pop up from time to time...more often than we would like, that's for sure," he says.

Meanwhile, Dyck says the busy fall shipping season is just beginning. "It's just starting to pick up right now. We're seeing a lot of space in the primary system as farmers have been busy harvesting. In the nearby, we're looking for 1 and 2 CWRS, 1 and 2 durum and, to a lesser extent, some 3 durum."

~ Thursday, October 14, 2010 ~