While bulk grain shipments are continuing to flow, fertilizer exports from the West Coast have been interrupted by the ongoing port worker strike.
Over 7,000 port workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been on strike since Saturday,
Fertilizer Canada has joined other industry and business organizations, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in calling for the federal government to take immediate action to end the work stoppage.
Ninety five per cent of Canadian potash production is exported, with the majority moving through the Port of Vancouver. That could force farmers in other countries to source potash from Russia and Belarus, the second and third largest potash producers behind Canada.
“Potash is essential to global food security, and we are concerned the strike will jeopardize the delivery of our product to farmers around the world who need it to grow hearty, nutritious crops,” says Karen Proud, president and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “The fertilizer industry depends on reliable supply chains to get our products to farmers. This strike is one of many disruptions we have seen and underscores the importance of strengthening Canada’s supply chains.”
The government must take immediate action, including recalling Parliament and enacting back-to-work legislation if necessary, says the fertilizer industry organization, noting “government intervention is needed to protect Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner.”
Bulk grain shipments are not expected to be affected directly by the strike, as a section in the Canada Labour Code specifically states that port workers must continue to move grain during a work stoppage.
According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, more than $800 million worth of cargo typically flows through West Coast ports every day.