November 29, 2021 | Circular No. 11354

Dear Member,

You will find below the most recent updates on rail, highway and port operations in British Columbia following the flooding and mudslides that occurred in the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions early last week.  As a general note, there has been some progress in re-opening road and rail access, but the system remains very fragile due not only to the damage created by the previous storms, but by the new weather systems that are now arriving.

Rail operations:

  • Both CP and CN eastbound and westbound trains are operating on CP’s mainline between Vancouver and Kamloops.
  • CP reports that it did not shut down at any point over the past weekend, although service was interrupted due to the need for an extended maintenance period.
  • CP is not anticipating any major disruptions (although it is monitoring the latest wave of storms) and is confident that it has all the resources it needs to respond to future challenges.
  • CN operated multiple trains on its rail line through the Fraser Canyon corridor over the weekend, but halted operations in order to undertake repairs at a location impacted by heavy preciptiation.

Highway operations:

  • The BC Ministry of Transportation proactively closed segments of several arteries, including highways 1,3 and 7, over the weekend due to weather-related issues, and will continue to do so in cases of potential danger.
  • The Ministry reports that Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton and Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet have now reopened for essential travel.

Marine Operations: 

  • Demand for anchorages at the Port of Vancouver is now exceeding capacity.
  • As of yesterday morning, there was a backlog of 54 ships at anchorage, including 9 container ships in and around the port, and another 13 waiting to load coal and 16 to load grain.
  • Transport Canada has warned that given how long it will take to rebuild the supply chain, it will be asking stakeholders to maximize the Prince Rupert option for containers (not destined to Vancouver), grain and coal.

Other:

  • The provincial state of emergency is being extended until December 14, which means that the current 30 litre limit for fuel and other restrictions will remain in effect at least until then.
  • It now appears that the Trans Mountain Pipeline will not resume operations until the end of the week at the earliest.
  • Although gas shortages have been easing, there remains some concern over the future availability of bunker fuel (this issue is being monitored by a fuel working group).
  • The government may be announcing exemptions to requirements for low sulphur fuel within the next few days.

We continue to participate in daily conference calls of the Supply Chain Restoration Sub-Committee led by Transport Canada, and in weekly calls of the Federal / Provincial Recovery Working Group led by Transport Canada and the BC Ministry of Transportation.

We will continue to closely monitor all of the above and provide members with updates on a regular basis.

Sincerely,

Karen Kancens
Vice President