Despite end of CN strike, logistical challenges remain for propane industry

THE Canadian Propane Association (CPA) on Tuesday welcomed the end of the CN rail strike. However, the Canadian Propane Association said that the industry may continue to feel the impact of the strike for at least the next several weeks.

“We are thankful that the work stoppage has come to a successful conclusion and we congratulate CN, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the federal government for their efforts in ending the labour impasse,” said Dan Kelly, Chair of the CPA. “We also wish to thank the premiers and other public officials from across Canada for their support of the propane industry and their recognition of the importance of propane in the lives of Canadians.”

In the coming weeks, the propane industry will still be faced with the logistical challenges of getting the supply chain back to normal and the CPA will be working with CN to ensure that the replenishing of propane is a priority in the aftermath of the strike.

“Our customers are our priority and CPA members are reaching out to them to ensure that they understand we are working as hard as possible to get levels back to normal as quickly as we can,” said Kelly. “We knew that the drastic reduction in rail support during the strike was going to impact the logistics in the immediate aftermath of the strike and now we are working diligently to get supply back to normal.”

While the strike has concluded, Kelly noted that the recovery of supply to normal levels, particularly in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, could be weeks in the making.

“As we have maintained throughout the work stoppage, despite best efforts to secure propane supply for customers from wherever we could, the reality is that it the replenishing of supply to pre-strike levels will take time to achieve,” said Kelly.

Kelly also underscored the important working relationship the CPA enjoys with the agriculture community in Canada. “The patience and understanding of our customers, particularly the agriculture groups who realized that the logistical challenge was not of our making, is greatly appreciated,” he said.

Kelly also reiterated that supply of propane in Canada was never the issue. What needs to be discussed going forward are ways to ensure that Canadian consumers of propane are not held hostage due to future labour unrest.

“Canadians have a great deal of confidence in propane as a safe, affordable, abundant and essential energy source,” said Kelly. “The CPA will work with governments, the railways and our stakeholder groups to ensure that the challenges that presented themselves as a result of the CN strike are not repeated in the future.”