Today’s Pickup: Canadian trucking industry group warns of pipeline protest impact

A anti-pipeline protester in Canada

Good day,

The anti-pipeline protests that have disrupted key Canadian National (CN) rail lines in Canada aren’t a good thing for the trucking industry even if some carriers see a temporary spike in volumes.  

“When the railways suffer disruption in service, it impacts everyone in the economy including the trucking industry,” the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said on February 18. 

The CTA, which represents carriers across Canada, also called for an end to the protests. The CTA noted that “many trucking movements begin or end at the rail head.” 

Beyond intermodal operations, the CTA pointed out that disruptions to the supply chain hurt the economy – which in turn hurts businesses that rely on trucking. 

Mullen Group CEO Murray Mullen said last week that the protests could bring some additional freight to Canada’s trucking industry, but agreed that the disruptions were ultimately harmful to the country’s supply chain and economy. 

The protests began nearly two weeks ago in support of a First Nations group’s opposition to the proposed route of a gas pipeline. The protests are not targeting CN’s railways directly but have resulted in serious disruptions to its network. 

CN moved to shut down its eastern network in response to protests.

Did you know?

Bankrupt Dean Foods has a fleet of more than 5,000 trucks. The Dairy Farmers of America recently made an offer to buy Dean Foods’ assets for $425 million.


“The fact that January is off to a poor start signals another disappointing quarter ahead for both pricing and volumes at the publicly traded truckload companies.”

– David Ross., Stifel Financial (NYSE: SF) equity research analyst, on the weak performance of the Cass Freight Index.

In other news:

New Jersey home to worst freight bottleneck in U.S.

The intersection of  Interstate 95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has retained the top spot on the American Transportation Research Institute annual list of the 100 worst trucking bottlenecks in the country. (FreightWaves)

Canadian REIT acquires U.S. logistics property portfolio for $730 million

A Canadian real estate investment trust, WPT Industrial, has acquired a portfolio of 26 U.S. distribution and logistics properties from Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust for $730 million. (GlobeSt.)

Truck driver rescued after falling 75 feet from I-85 bridge

Emergency responders rescued a FedEx driver who plunged 75 feet from a bridge on Interstate 85 in North Carolina. The driver, who had stopped to help a stranded motorist, was avoiding an oncoming semi-truck. (WBTV)

Trucker denies knowing about $1.8 million in cocaine under cab bed

The driver of a U.K.-bound truck found with $1.8 million in cocaine at the Channel Tunnel terminal in France denied knowing about the drugs hidden under the cab’s bed, police said. (Kent Online)

Final thoughts:

Rail blockades are putting downward pressure on the Canadian economy. The disruptions and the coronavirus outbreak appear have effectively dashed hopes of a recovery from the fourth-quarter slump, TD Bank Senior Economist James Marple wrote in a note discussing a rise in the consumer price index today.  

“While temporary factors can (once again) be blamed for the ongoing slowdown, a long enough series of temporary setbacks is indistinguishable from something permanent,” Marple wrote. 

Hammer down, everyone!