US petrol ships head to Vancouver after floods disrupt supply chains

The arriving barges will help alleviate a fuel shortage where some gas stations had to temporarily close due to empty pumps.

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US barges carrying gasoline are headed to Canada’s west coast to deliver much-needed fuel to a region cut off from the rest of the country after last week’s rainstorms brought flooding and landslides that damaged transportation links.

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Gasoline is scarce in parts of British Columbia, including in Vancouver, home to the country’s largest port and the country’s third-largest city. The arriving barges will help alleviate a fuel shortage in a province where some gas stations had to temporarily close due to empty pumps.

The heavy damage from rainstorms washed away sections of major highways and blocked railroads leading east, essentially isolating Vancouver from the rest of the country. This creates difficulties in getting supplies to the area, and panic buying, which leaves some supermarket shelves empty and puts pressure on the fuel supply. The BC provincial government has imposed a maximum purchase of 30 liters (7.9 gallons) for drivers.

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“We’ve taken deliveries from other jurisdictions, as you know, for example from Alberta and also from the south of the border,” BC’s secretary of public safety Mike Farnworth said at a news conference Monday. “There are some barges on their way to get here with fuel.”

Pipeline repairs underway

Operators of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries crude oil from Alberta to BC, are “working around the clock” to ensure work on the disrupted pipeline and the ability to move oil is “done as quickly as possible,” Farnworth said. .

Enbridge Inc. said Sunday it had increased the capacity of the Westcoast Pipeline after the pipeline was temporarily shut down just before the flood.

The tracks of Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Co., the country’s main lines that carry nearly all rail freight in BC, including goods ranging from timber to grain, to the Port of Vancouver, have been closed for a week.

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CP Rail will reopen its tracks between the BC Interior city of Kamloops and Vancouver by noon Tuesday after 30 locations were damaged, the company said in a statement. Twenty of those locations experienced “significant infrastructure loss.”

“The next 10 days will be critical,” said Keith Creel, CP Rail’s Chief Executive Officer. “As we move from response to recovery to full service resumption, we will focus on working with customers to realign the supply chain.”

As sections of major highways reopen, BC Transport and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming said it will take weeks for temporary repairs to be made on the major Coquihalla Highway and months for permanent repairs to be made as the country enters winter.

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“We fully understand how important the Coquihalla is to our province for east-west travel and especially for the movement of goods,” Fleming told reporters at a news conference on Monday. “Temporary repairs and construction access are underway to allow traffic to move.”

Bloomberg.com


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