CN Rail Ontario Blockade May Cause Petrochemical Plant Shutdowns

The blockade of a Canadian National Railway Co. line that helps serve the petrochemical industry in Sarnia, Ontario, may force plants in the area to shut, according to the rail operator.

The blockade of the line by a First Nations group began Dec. 21 and is ongoing, said Jim Feeny, a Montreal-based spokesman for Canadian National, in a telephone interview. The spur line, over which an average of 450 Canadian National rail cars pass each day, runs from a main line to an industrial area of Sarnia, he said.

“It’s beginning to affect customers on the line,” said Feeny. “Some of them are facing plant shutdowns if service is not resumed.”

A telephone message left in the general voice mail for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario, wasn’t immediately returned.

Products carried on the line include ethylene, methanol, butane and propane, according to Feeny. Canadian National doesn’t move crude oil on the line, he said. CSX Corp. (CSX) also uses the line to serve customers, he said.

Three refineries operated by Imperial Oil Ltd, (IMO) Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Suncor Energy Inc. (SU) in the Sarnia region have a combined capacity of 277,730 barrels a day of crude processing capacity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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