(Adds retailer comment)
OTTAWA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Canada's warehouses are filling
up with everything from furniture to alcohol, after floods in
British Columbia washed out critical rail and road lines,
disrupting already strained supply chains.
A week after a phenomenon known as an atmospheric river https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/canada-flood-shows-how-climate-change-could-fuel-atmospheric-river-storms-2021-11-19
brought a month's worth of rain in two days to the Pacific
coast province, road traffic between Vancouver's port, Canada's
busiest, and the rest of the country remains largely suspended https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/good-news-last-flood-hit-canadian-province-some-rail-services-restart-2021-11-19.
Canadian Pacific Railway is set to restart service
on Tuesday, while Canadian National Railway plans to
reopen to limited traffic on Wednesday.
Shippers, meanwhile, are seeking extra storage space and
eyeing alternative routes to move key manufacturing components.
The disruptions come ahead of the busy holiday shopping season,
with the Retail Council of Canada estimating a "significant" hit
Love Dodd, who owns three furniture stores on Vancouver
Island, said he has containers of stock just sitting on ships in
Vancouver and truckloads of mattresses stuck on the side of a
"A lot of our Black Friday merchandise was on those
trailers. We're going to be short now for our big event for the
year," he said, adding he expects a hit of at least C$200,000
($157,755) on Black Friday sales alone.
From forest fires to floods https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/fire-floods-climate-change-hits-canadas-fragile-supply-chain-2021-11-19,
natural disasters are exposing Canada's supply chain
vulnerabilities, piling pressure on retailers and manufacturers
already grappling with global supply chain clogs.
In Vancouver, warehousing and trucking firm 18 Wheels
Logistics has filled every inch of its existing storage space
with alcohol, auto parts and other goods. It signed a lease for
another 180,000 square feet, the equivalent of two city blocks,
to deal with excess demand.
"It's quite a bit of space to take on," said Chief Executive
Wen's firm is also re-routing trucks laden with perishable
goods and high-demand auto parts across the border into
Washington state on a more circuitous route to destinations in
Alberta and further east in Ontario and Quebec.
He said the trip takes two extra days for a firm relying on
The infrastructure and emergency cost of the flood alone has
been pegged at more than C$1 billion ($787 million), according
to local officials. That does not include the hit to farmers,
retailers and other businesses.
Logistics firm Volume Freight said it has secured storage in
Vancouver for trapped goods from tires to furniture and is
arranging for trucks to haul product from the city to provinces
further east, via the United States, a costly endeavor.
"Right now, everyone is sitting and waiting... Everyone's
just in limbo," said Chief Operating Officer Danica Sabourin,
adding even when rail lines reopen, delays will last weeks due
to the backlog.
The Port of Vancouver, which moves about C$240 billion of
goods a year, said anchorage demand is "high and nearing
capacity across all vessel types."
On the other side of the disaster, a driver for Lipsett
Cartage was forced to leave his truck loaded down with 94,000
pounds of steel in Kamloops, a city in British Columbia that is
north of some of the worst flooding.
The company flew the driver back to Regina, but was unable
to make a single shipment to or from Vancouver last week,
whereas it usually does 10.
"It's a mess," said office manager Zoe Lipsett. "We're
absolutely to the wall, having companies call us, asking 'How
are we going to do this?'"
For Toronto-based shopping bag seller Progress Luv2Pak, the
floods are the latest hurdle cutting them off from two
long-delayed containers stuck at the Vancouver port.
Even when the shipments are released, Progress will have to
find an alternative route to get them east, President Ben
"Im pretty numb to it by this point. I wake up everyday
kind of expecting there to be another piece of chaos in the
supply chain," he said.
($1 = 1.2678 Canadian dollars)
(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