CN terminal troubles persist

BRAMPTON, Ont. (Sept. 12, 2003) — An estimated $300 million worth of imported goods remains piled containers at Canadian National Railway’s intermodal facility in Brampton, Ont.

More than 3,000 loaded containers are stuck inside the terminal as frustrated truckers — angry about extremely long wait times at the terminal and lack of compensation for such idle time — refuse to pick up or drop freight, and have set up picket lines in protest. The truckers — who get paid by the number of shipments — say they’re losing thousands of dollars since continuing terminal delays have resulted in less shipments a day.

George Kuhn, executive director of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, told the Toronto Star newspaper his group, along with importers and shipping federations, is preparing to appeal for help from the federal and provincial governments in breaking the logjam. Exports are also in jeopardy, as containers waiting for shipment overseas aren’t moving.

CN officials have confessed to “inefficient operating practices” and have been meeting with truckers in hopes of reaching a solution, but have not yet offered financial compensation to the truckers. The company’s solutions include reserved pickup times, intended to cut waits down to 30 minutes now and 45 minutes for all pickups once the container level falls to the usual 1,000.

— with files from the Toronto Star

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