Canada Markets

Canada's Seaway Strike Negotiations Continue

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart highlights the grain disposition from Thunder Bay from week 9 through week 22 during the past five years, roughly the three months from October through December. The five-year average is 2.770 mmt in total, or roughly 923,300 mt/month. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

As the St. Lawrence Seaway strike nears the end of the first week, the Unifor union is in negotiations with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. on Friday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault have released a joint statement urging the affected parties to come to an agreement. Today's negotiations will be led by federal mediators with "assistance" from federal Labour Minister Seamus O' Regan, while the two premiers have urged the federal government to seek "whatever means it has at its disposal" to bring a settlement to resolve this issue. Note that one week ago, a union spokesman indicated the two sides were "1,000 nautical miles apart."

While the shutdown in the seaway has broad reaching implications for the agriculture industry as well as a number of other industries, the attached chart focuses on the implications for grain shipments for the Port of Thunder Bay, which is included in the group of western terminals. The Canadian Labour code states that grain shipments through licensed terminals must continue during any work stoppage, while affected parties are forced to wait on the Canada Industrial Relations Board for a ruling on this and the outcome will likely disappoint.

As seen on the attached chart, the Canadian Grain Commission's disposition data for Thunder Bay shows a five-year average movement of 2.770 million metric tons of movement between week 9 and week 22, which closely resembles the October-December period, with a high of 3.086 mmt in 2022-21.

This signals movement of close to 1 mmt/month in the final three months of the calendar year, key shipping months as we near freeze up.

See DTN Contributing Analyst Philip Shaw's Under the Agridome column this week about the strike at….

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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