Feds contribute $4.1m to Vancouver port to resolve supply-chain issues

The atmospheric river flooding event on Sept. 13-15 effectively broke all freight links within Canadian borders to the Port of Vancouver. | Chung Chow, BIV

The federal government will give Vancouver Fraser Port Authority $4.1 million towards the preparation of an industrial site for container storage in addressing the ongoing supply chain issues, officials announced today.

The funding, co-announced by federal transport minister Omar Alghabra and emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair, said the move is in direct response to the supply chain disruptions in southwestern B.C. caused by the recent massive flooding and landslides that cut off the Port from the rest of Canada.

The funding is for the preparation of an undeveloped 40-acre parcel land within the Fraser Richmond Industrial Lands, officials said, which will be used to address ongoing container capacity issues created by the rail and road closures caused by the rainstorm.

“The impacts of the recent extreme weather events have been devastating to British Columbians, including many First Nations communities, as well as to critical infrastructure, supply chains and the agricultural sector,” Blair said in a statement. “That is why the Government of Canada will continue to provide support to the Province of British Columbia as they work to repair and recover from this tragedy.”

The funding comes out of the National Trade Corridors Fund that was designed to improve trade infrastructure throughout Canada.

The atmospheric river flooding event on Sept. 13-15 effectively broke all freight links within Canadian borders to the Port of Vancouver. CN and CP Rail were only able to reopen their lines to Vancouver in a limited fashion this week, and road links like Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon - as well as Highway 5 through the Coquihalla region - remain down without a firm timeline for reopening.

The disruption has caused more than 60 vessels to be waiting in Vancouver for transporting goods, including 11 container vessels (four at berth and seven at anchorage)  and a large number of bulk-goods vessels as of Thursday afternoon.