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INTERMODAL: CN Rail slashes 1,600 jobs citing weak economy, trade tensions

PortandTerminal.com, November 17, 2019

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Canada’s CN Rail has announced that it will be laying off up to 1,600 employees due to a weakening Canadian economy, declining cargo volumes and on-going trade tensions.

In October, Canada’s largest railroad operator cut its adjusted earnings per share outlook percentage for 2019 to the high single digits, down from predictions of low double-digit growth.

Freight volumes came in below expectations in the third quarter and manufacturing has also fallen off, it said.

CN Rail, Canada’s largest railway, employs 24,000 people in Canada and the United States. (Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the British Columbia forestry sector, where high log prices and dwindling timber supply have prompted shutdowns or curtailments in more than two dozen mills, and due to the weather-delayed grain crop on the Prairies.

“As explained during CN’s Q3 results, the company is adjusting its resources to demand,” said spokesman Alexandre Boule in a statement.

“This includes the difficult decision of adjusting its workforce to demand levels by placing some employees on furlough and reducing both management and union job numbers due to a weakening of many sectors of the economy. These adjustments have already started to take place across the network.”

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