Alcohol and auto parts: Canada’s warehouses fill up as floods halt the flow of goods

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OTTAWA, Nov. 23 (Reuters) – Canada’s warehouses are filling up with everything from furniture to alcohol after flooding in British Columbia washed away critical rail and road lines, disrupting already strained supply chains.

A week after a phenomenon known as the Atmospheric River brought a month of rain in two days to the Pacific Coast Province, road traffic between the port of Vancouver, Canada’s busiest, and the rest of the country remains largely suspended. Read more

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is expected to resume service on Tuesday, while the Canadian National (CNR.TO) plans to reopen to limited traffic on Wednesday.

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Shippers, on the other hand, are looking for additional storage space and considering alternative routes to move key manufacturing components. The disruption comes ahead of the busy holiday shopping season, with the Retail Council of Canada deeming a “big” blow to businesses.

Love Dodd, who owns three furniture stores on Vancouver Island, said he had stock containers just sitting on ships in Vancouver and mattress trucks stuck on the side of a flooded highway.

“A lot of our Black Friday merchandise was on these trailers. We’re going to be running out now for our big event of the year,” he said, adding that he expects a hit of the year. ” at least CA $ 200,000 ($ 157,755) on Black Friday sales. alone.

From forest fires to flooding, natural disasters expose vulnerabilities in Canada’s supply chain, putting pressure on retailers and manufacturers already struggling with global supply chain bottlenecks. Read more

In Vancouver, warehousing and trucking company 18 Wheels Logistics has filled every square inch of its existing storage space with alcohol, auto parts and other merchandise. He signed a lease for an additional 180,000 square feet, the equivalent of two city blocks, to meet the excess demand.

“It’s a bit of space to take on,” said managing director Adrian Wen.

Wen’s business is also redirecting trucks loaded with perishable goods and high-demand auto parts across the border to Washington state on a more roundabout route to destinations in Alberta and further east in Ontario and Quebec.

He said the trip takes an additional two days for a company relying on 350 drivers.

The infrastructure and emergency costs of the flood alone have been estimated at more than one billion Canadian dollars ($ 787 million), according to local officials. This does not include the blow to farmers, retailers and other businesses.

Logistics company Volume Freight said it has secured storage in Vancouver for trapped goods, from tires to furniture, and is making arrangements for trucks to transport the goods from the city to the provinces further afield. t is, via the United States, an expensive undertaking.

“Right now everyone is sitting and waiting… Everyone is in limbo,” COO Danica Sabourin said, adding that even when the rail lines reopened, the delays would last for years. weeks because of the backlog.

The Port of Vancouver, which carries around C $ 240 billion in cargo per year, said the demand for mooring is “high and close to capacity for all types of vessels.”

On the other side of the disaster, a Lipsett Cartage driver was forced to leave his truck loaded with 94,000 pounds of steel in Kamloops, a town in British Columbia that is north of some of the worst flooding.

The company brought the driver back to Regina, but couldn’t make a single shipment to or from Vancouver last week, when it usually makes 10.

“It’s a mess,” said office manager Zoe Lipsett. “We are absolutely up against the wall, companies are calling us to ask us’ How are we going to do this? “”

For Toronto-based shopping bag vendor Progress Luv2Pak, flooding is the latest hurdle stopping them from two long-delayed containers stuck in the Port of Vancouver.

Even when the cargoes are released, Progress will have to find an alternate route to get them east, President Ben Hertzman said.

“I’m pretty numb at this point. I wake up every day expecting there to be more chaos in the supply chain,” he said.

($ 1 = 1.2678 Canadian dollars)

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Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Julie Gordon in Ottawa and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Julie Gordon; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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