Vancouver weather deepens west coast crunch

As the third-largest city in Canada, Vancouver has a lot of traffic coming through. A storm that blew through recently had the city cut off from the rest of the country by land because of severe flooding, and mudslides that blocked all major highways and railways. 

British Columbia declared a state of emergency on Wednesday that will allow it to prohibit nonessential travel, hoarding of goods, and price gouging, following what the locals are calling the storm of the century.

Premier John Horgan told reporters “These are extraordinary events not measured before, not contemplated before.” The rain the fell on Merritt, a town of 7,000 people northeast of Vancouver was 3x’s the historical high.

People are hoarding food and supplies, and Horgan is warning residents against it. The impact is expected to be significant and has a cascading effect, Wade Sobkowich says. Vessel delays when fright rates and demurrage are already a problem is just going to make things worse. 

More than 1500 rail cars carrying grain are expected to be idle in Vancouver for days until things clear up. 

The Canadian Military has deployed planes, helicopters, and several hundred troops to assist in Vancouver. Highway 7 was opened to allow the evacuation of refugees after it was cleared of rocks and debris but has been closed again until the damage has been further assessed.  Highways 1, 3, 5, and 99 are closed because of mudslides.

Engineering teams are yet to report the full extent of the damage on the tracks as of November 22nd, and Vancouver has still yet to be fully evacuated.

Maersk is predicting major disruption to port operations for the next few weeks, adding that there will be an increase in congestion at terminals and to expect vessel delays. An alternate port that sappers could use would be the Prince Rupert Port which has so far been unaffected by the problems.

The port stated “[We are] fully engaged in supporting the response to the devastating impacts of the flooding in southern British Columbia and is ready to help the communities and supply chains being impacted by it. The Port of Prince Rupert remains fully operational and is not experiencing any impact to port or rail operations related to the extreme weather events and is ready to activate its full capacity. A number of terminals have the ability to handle additional cargo and are actively engaged with shippers and CN [Canadian National] to assist in facilitating the movement of critical goods, supplies and trade.”