Anyone who has ever been to Vancouver can attest to its lush beauty. With sprawling evergreen forests aside the bustling city and a number of verdant and thriving parks to explore, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination — for both tourists and manufacturers; the seaside city acts as an access point to the ocean, making it an extremely valuable location.
Container trucking companies and transportation companies come from all across the country (due to the fact that around 90% of consumer products and foodstuffs are shipped by truck throughout Canada) to deposit their heavy haul loads at the port, marking the beginning of extensive commercial logistics routes to the rest of the world. However, Vancouver is lush for a reason: it is the wettest major city in Canada. And, unfortunately, that makes handling grain an exceptional difficulty.
The Rain In Grain
When grain gets wet, it may rot or sprout in transit; after weeks of travel, transportation companies would be delivering damaged and useless goods. Grain exports have climbed 9.3% throughout Canada compared to the year before, but the weather poses a threat to the industry.
In previous years, marine workers were able to cover the ship’s hatch and pour the grain in through feeder holes. The implementation of new safety regulations halted this practice, so now workers are forced to wait until the inclement weather has passed.
“It’s an irritation for them,” said Mark Hemmes, president of Quorum Corp., a company hired by the federal government to monitor Canada’s grain transportation system. “They wait for a couple of hours. Rain stops. Everybody goes back to work.”
As a consequence, rail transportation companies are getting stuck in bottlenecks that prevent the movement of goods, oil and lumber included. Though Canadian grain shipments are being transported at a faster rate this year, concerns about heavy rainfall are being voiced — especially since Vancouver has seen an exceptional amount of rain in the past few weeks.
“Loading in the rain continues to be a challenge,”said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, which represents the nation’s grain shippers. “We’re hopeful solutions will come forward, but they’re not coming at the pace we had hoped or expected.”