Thursday, July 15, 2021

Wildfires making for transportation delays to Port of Vancouver, with some traffic redirected to Prince Rupert

CN Rail's Western network
(map from CN Rail website)

The increasingly dangerous wildfire conditions throughout much of the Cariboo, Thompson and upper Okanagan areas are having a domino impact on trade through the Port of Vancouver, with CN Rail recently announcing another round of suspended service in the Kamloops to Lytton corridor in response to the fire danger through much of Interior British Columbia.

An update for CN Rail customers noted by the Vancouver Sun yesterday, which also outlined how the last two weeks of service have been impacted by the wildfires.

In addition to the CN moves, the Federal government had recently suspended service on the rail lines for both national railways through the wildfire areas.

The wildfire situation over that period had already give some shippers cause to reroute some of their product further north, with mining company Teck among those to shift their shipping plans towards the Northern Gateway in Prince Rupert.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority has not to this point indicated just how much of an increase, if any, may have been seen by Prince Rupert terminals over the course of the last few weeks. 

A comment from Monika Côté, Manager of Corporate Communications with the PRPA offering up the following towards operations at this time:

The Port of Prince Rupert remains fluid and is not experiencing any impact to port or rail operations related to the wildfires in BC.

The Northwest is also facing some wildfire challenges, mostly in the Bulkley Valley area of the region, but so far it seems that those wildfire areas have not impacted on the rail infrastructure that delivers cargo to and from facilities in Prince Rupert.

Should the wildfires in the Cariboo, Kamloops area and points south continue to burn unchecked, the impact on CN's operations may however soon may see more freight transiting the only corridor currently available to a west coast port in Canada.

You can track vessel arrivals and departures from the Prince Rupert terminals from the PRPA website.

More notes on the Port and the terminals of the Prince Rupert waterfront can be found from our archive page here.

For updates on the Northwest wildfire situation see our archive here.

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