As if lumber mills didn’t have enough trouble finding truck drivers, forest products companies in Canada’s Ontario and Quebec provinces say a lack of railroad cars is crimping sales. The Ontario Forest Industries Association warned that if the primary railroads bringing lumber to the United States don’t bring in new cars soon, “this issue could ultimately affect manufacturing activity,” Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported March 27. Quebec’s trade group issued a similar statement.
A spokesperson for Canadian National (CN) railway says it has enough railcars to meet current shipment forecasts and commitments from its customers, but any demand that rises above those levels would require purchasing additional freight cars. “And in today’s market, the lead time to obtain such cars is 12 to 18 months,” the newspaper quoted the CN spokesperson as saying.