By Nate Tabak of FreightWaves,
Canadian Pacific plans to restore service in British Columbia on Tuesday in a reprieve for the backlogged Port of Vancouver, which has been cut off from the rails for over a week following floods and landslides that devastated the province.
CP said Monday that it expects to reopen its railway from Kamloops to Vancouver by midday and will be working to “clear the backlogs as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
“The following 10 days will be critical,” Keith Creel, CP president and CEO, said in a statement.
“As we move from response to recovery to full-service resumption, our focus will be on working with customers to get the supply chain back in sync.”
The backlog of vessels has mounted at the Port of Vancouver, with 43 ships waiting to dock as of Monday afternoon. It included 17 grain, 12 coal and six container ships.
It’s unclear, however, when exactly CN’s rail lines will be running again. The company said on Friday that it expected to have repairs completed this week. Both railways’ lines between Kamloops and Vancouver have been shut down since Nov. 15 after heavy rain brought floods and landslides. This week is expected to bring more storms to the region.
It will likely take weeks for the backlogs to be cleared. Meanwhile, shippers have been looking for alternates to get freight in and out of Vancouver – compounded by road closures. Air Canada said Monday that it was boosting cargo capacity for Vancouver, adding cargo-only flights and using larger passenger aircraft.
Meanwhile, trucking companies have reported an increase in demand for expedited truckload service from Vancouver to Toronto. But reaching Vancouver via truck remains a challenge as highways have been only partially reopened.
“Black Friday is this Friday, so every merchant that has a Black Friday deal and has freight that’s been on the water or is in the warehouse is trying to get it moved as fast as possible,” said Corey Darbyson, director of Montreal-based Transport DSquare.