Canadian National Railway Co will shut operations in Eastern Canada as its rail lines continue to be blocked by anti-pipeline protesters, the country’s biggest railroad operator said on Thursday.The protests by an indigenous community opposing the construction of a gas pipeline project in British Columbia and its supporters have disrupted passenger trains and goods transportation for the seventh straight day.
The shutdown will continue until the blockades end and may lead to temporary layoffs within its Eastern Canadian operational staff, the company said on Thursday.
“With over 400 trains canceled during the last week and new protests that emerged at strategic locations on our mainline, we have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take,” Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest said in a statement.
On Thursday, British Columbia Premier John Horgan and federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said they are willing to meet with the protesting indigenous groups.
The C$6.6 billion ($4.97 billion) pipeline, which will be operated by TC Energy Corp , is set to move natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to the Pacific Coast, where the Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada export facility is under construction.