A pulp mill in northern Saskatchewan is slowing production due to a shortage of railcars.
Graham Kissack calls the situation frustrating after Paper Excellence said it used all available local storage facilities at its plant in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.
“After going through all the challenges of the global market with COVID, (we) now find ourselves in a position where we cannot ship our product,” Kissak, the company’s vice president of corporate communications, told GlobalNews.
“We have had to put finished dough on the ground since December, and now we find ourselves in a position where we have to actually slow down the operational speed of our facility in Meadow Lake.
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The problem, Kissack said, is that Canadian National Railway isn’t providing the cars the company has historically needed to get its products to market.
Instead, he said they were bidding at a wagon auction.
“For example, this week we requested 154 cars. We get 54 cars, and that’s a big impact,” he said.
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“It’s frustrating for us to hear that the cars aren’t available, but we’re also being asked to basically participate in an auction process to buy more cars at a higher price.”
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CN said its problems were due to recent extreme weather and supply chain issues.
“CN remains committed to working with its customers and supply chain partners as recent extreme weather conditions in Western Canada, as well as supply chain challenges across the Americas du Nord, have impacted the cycle times of railcars used in the wood products industry,” CN said in a statement to Global. News.
“We understand the frustration felt by our customers and we continue to do everything in our power to get their goods to market as quickly as possible.”
Kissack said the inability to bring its product to market creates a big challenge for the company.
“We can’t be profitable operating a plant that is slowing down,” he said.
“These facilities are designed to operate at full capacity, and we compete on a global scale with other people all over the world.”
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