Today’s Pickup: CN will bounce back from rail blockades, CEO says

A rail blockade in Canada.

Good day,

Canadian National Railway CEO JJ Ruest said he expects the company to bounce back in the aftermath of weeks of rail blockades – likening their impact to November’s strike. 

Ruest told BNN Bloomberg that the blockades will hurt CN, but that he remains confident in meeting its 2020 outlook. 

CN is in the process of ramping up freight service after shutting down its eastern Canada network in response to the blockades, which were established to protest a pipeline’s route through an indigenous group’s territory. 

Ruest suggested that the effects may be similar to those CN experienced in November 2019, when rail workers went on strike for eight days, reducing capacity by 90%.

The strike “was quite significant to CN results, and we might be on that kind of scale,” Ruest said.

Did you know?

FreightWaves LIVE is coming to Toronto on Sept. 17. It marks the first international stop for the freight industry’s hottest conference. The lineup already includes big names in the transportation and logistics industry including Jacques DeLarochellière, president and co-founder, ISAAC Instruments and Sarah Barnes-Humphrey, host of the “Lets Talk Supply Chain” podcast and blog.


“Mexico keeps growing far above Latin America as a whole.”

— David Geisen, CEO of Latina American e-commerce giant Mercado Libre on its plans to invest $420 million in Mexico in 2020

In other news:

Massachusetts bill would eliminate the sales tax on new trucks 

A bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would offer a significant boost to the transportation industry by eliminating the sales tax on purchases of new trucks. (StreetsblogMASS)

Coronavirus keeping millions of China’s trucks off the road

Half of China’s 30 million trucks aren’t in service because of the coronavirus epidemic. (The Wall Street Journal

Federal court rules owner-operator had obligations to former carrier

A federal court in the Northern District of Georgia ruled that an owner-operator breached its duties to its former employer when it shifted trucking companies because of a non-compete clause. (Lexology)  

New Jersey troopers pull trucker to safety before rig explodes

Two New Jersey state troopers managed to get a truck driver out his cab moments before his rig exploded after an accident. (Fox Business)

Final thoughts:

The weeks of rail blockades across Canada generated a great deal of talk about the threat to the economy and supply chain

The impacts were real and severe, especially for intermodal trucking companies and some ports such as Halifax. Grain shipments also took a large hit, too.

But Canadian economists have said the impacts will be temporary. Bigger concerns loom due to coronavirus, which is hitting West Coast ports, and a much larger cloud of mounting consumer debt.

Hammer down, everyone!