Railways working around the clock to restore network in B.C.

Nov 23, 2021

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Canada's railways are continuing efforts to reestablish the network in British Columbia, after disruptions caused by heavy flooding.

David Przednowek is the assistant vice president for grain with CN Rail.

He spoke with us Friday afternoon.

"Right now, grain loads going into the Port of Vancouver, along with all kinds of other traffic, are staged along our line," he said. "Of course, we have empty hopper cars and all kinds of other equipment that want to come up from the Port of Vancouver. That traffic is staged and standing now as well. At this point, there is no movement in that lane. The extent to which the supply chain will be able to recover is going to depend on the duration of the outage."

He says the Port of Prince Rupert could be one option.

"The thing to think about there is that year-over-year, due to the impact of the drought and other factors, grain volumes overall, are significantly lower compared to the same time last year. There is the capacity to move more grain through the Port of Prince Rupert, whether that is for bulk vessel shipment or for transloading into containers. Both of those things occur there. Grain volumes into Prince Rupert have been roughly half of what they were or less compared to the same time last year...but you also have to take into account, that you can't just immediately flip things from one port to another."

Przednowek says the situation in BC is unusual because both the CN and CP rail lines are down.

He notes there were derailments on both rail lines.

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