While wood chips may have been available in 2022, getting them to the mills – and in turn getting products to customers – was often intensely challenging. In BC, this was partly a hangover from flooding and severe road damage in late 2021. However, in Saskatchewan the issue was lack of sufficient rail service.
Our Meadow Lake mill was seriously impacted by poor rail service for much of 2022. Over a number of months , CN Rail supplied fewer than half the rail cars required, resulting in multiple production curtailments at this mill. This required us to use much more diverse routing and a great many more storage locations, and resulted in higher reliance on trucks and alternative shipping arrangements – all at significant additional costs.
We thank the Premier of Saskatchewan and the Meadow Lake Tribal Council for their public support regarding our concerns with the rail service deficiencies. At year end we were awaiting the outcome of a level of service complaint filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency.