Freight forwarders trying to move cargo into and out of the Port of Vancouver and through the BC mainland are frustrated by the inability to make anything move.
There are numerous track outages in effect impacting both CN and CP rail lines, and the rail lines are not accepting containers for imports moving through Vancouver. They are also refusing export containers throughout their networks bound for the Port of Vancouver.
Closures on numerous highways are blocking truck traffic throughout the southern part of the province, and there is no clear timeline for when the province’s highway network will be functional again.
“From a road and rail perspective cargo is landlocked, chassis are full, and without the movement of cargo via road and rail we expect to see the ports becoming more congested,” said Julia Kuzeljevich, director of policy and communications at the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA).
“There is however some relief to be had from some of the ocean carriers holding off implementing detention and demurrage charges.”
CIFFA expressed concern that there is not enough clarity right now around the potential to divert freight to routes running through the United States. “We need further clarity on the customs processes that will be in effect for these diversions,” Kuzeljevich said. “We are awaiting this clarification at this time.”
CIFFA’s members have been reporting numerous issues as a result of the BC disaster, Kuzeljevich said.
They cannot pick up and deliver containers because they have run out of chassis and therefore can’t meet their commitments to customer. This is making them concerned about their business reputation and customer retention.
Steamship lines are not accepting empty containers, and yards are already full so there is nowhere to put either empties or fully loaded boxes.
The situation is resulting is having to refuse work until the backlogs can be cleared.
Forwarders are looking into investing where they can to access storage at yards, as well as buying chassis and lifting equipment.