THUNDER BAY -- A shift at the city’s Resolute Forest Products sawmill is the latest casualty of a long and cold winter.
The mill has been forced to cut one of its three shifts for four months, affecting up to 30 people, as a shortage of railcars has led to an inventory back-up.
"When we can't bring our product to market that becomes a challenge for us," Resolute spokesman Xavier Van Chau said.
It's a problem the company has never seen.
"It's new for us. It's new for the rail company."
CN's Mark Hallman said Resolute isn't alone in waiting to ship their product. The cold winter meant less cars could be on the tracks. Now that the weather is warmer a backlog of shipments is leading to congestion all over North America. A 30 day trip is now taking 40.
"Basically it has a significant overall effect," he said.
CN and Resolute say they're working together on a solution. Van Chau said Resolute would obviously be happy if the shift was back to work in less than four months.
"We're invested in the people at the facility. It's frustrating for us to be in a position to have to make this temporary elimination of one shift," he said.
Hallman said CN is working hard to meet demands of all industries.
"It's going to take some time but we're making slow but steady progress," he said.