November 16, 2021 | Circular No. 11343

Dear Member,

The Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority issued an operational update earlier today on the status of rail and road service at the Port of Vancouver as a result of the recent flooding in British Columbia. Key elements of the update include the following:

  • All rail service to and from the Port of Vancouver has been halted due to flooding in the BC interior (no rail access between Vancouver and Kamloops).
  • Both CN and CP are conducting damage assessments to determine access and repair activities required.  Neither railway can provide a timeframe for re-opening of rail lines until these assessments have been completed.
  • The port expects vessel delays and increased anchorage demand due to disruptions to terminal operations.
  • The port is working closely with key stakeholders (including terminal operators, railways and provincial / federal governments) to fully assess the impacts of these delays and develop a recovery plan.
  • Numerous highways are also closed due to washouts and debris, inlcuding all main routes to Metro Vancouver and the  Fraser Valley region.  Assessments of damage to road infrastucture are currently underway.

We also attended a call for supply chain stakeholders organized by Transport Canada earlier this afternoon, at which we learned the following additional information:

  • The immediate focus of all recovery efforts is on the preservation of life.  The next most important focus will be on the movement goods (especially essential goods) and the restoration of economic activity.
  • Both CN and CP have ramped up their damage assessments today due to breaks in the weather, but they cannot provide an estimate as to when service may start to be restored.
  • The BC Ministry of Transportation is heavily involved in this issue, espcially with respect to highway / road closures and damage (the Ministry is expected to issue an update today at 3:30 PM Pacific time).
  • The Port of Vancouver expects to see a significant increase in demand for anchorages over the coming days.  The port therefore plans to pre-emptively reach out to Southern Gulf Island residents to ensure they appreciate the urgency of the current situation and the resulting need for anchorage availability.
  • Transport Canada expects to see extensive and sustained pressures on the supply chain as a result of the B.C. floods, and anticipates that a great deal of infrastructure will likely need to be rebuilt (which will raise questions regarding prioritization over the longer term).
  • The Trans Mountain pipeline has been closed for safety reasons, which may have an impact on fuel availability and create additional supply chain challeges in the days / week ahead.
  • Transport Canada plans to hold daily update calls with key stakeholders as of this Thursday (time to be confirmed).

We will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops, with a view to providing members with updates on a regular basis.


Karen Kancens
Vice President