U.S. Oil Tankers Begin Delivering Fuel to British Columbia Floods

By Robert Tuttle and Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg) – British Columbia has started receiving U.S. fuel supplies by sea to help alleviate shortages triggered by some of the worst flooding on record, as the government has warned residents to pull back as more storms hit the disaster-ravaged province.

Transport Minister Rob Fleming told reporters on Thursday that refined fuel was being imported from the United States to help maintain fuel supplies. The government has ordered gas stations to secure their supplies until Dec. 1 as it seeks to bring fuel from as far as Oregon and California.

Two U.S.-flagged tankers called Vision and Florida have arrived in Vancouver from Washington state, according to vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The two were heading towards the ocean from Puget Sound when they veered right to venture into Vancouver. US-flagged tankers generally do not make deliveries to non-US ports due to the higher costs compared to foreign tankers, and none of the ships have sailed to foreign ports in the past year, according to the reports. data. The Canadian Fuels Association, which represents the transportation fuels industry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

British Columbia, a major conduit to Asia and Canada’s largest port, seeks to restore transit links and the movement of goods after flooding and mudslides forced thousands of evacuations, swept away sections of highways and damaged railroad tracks. Gasoline sales have been rationed in the Vancouver area, while critical exports such as lumber and grains are stalled, unable to reach the Port of Vancouver.

Further rains hit the coastal region again on Thursday – the first of three big storm pulses expected to arrive with increasing intensity through Tuesday – which could further complicate recovery efforts.

“Now is the time to prepare,” said Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s Minister of Public Safety, urging residents to install storm-proof homes, clean gutters and stock up on supplies. emergency supplies. Travel restrictions remain in place amid a state of emergency imposed earlier this month.

The province was virtually cut off from the rest of Canada for days by land with blocked highways and damaged railroads. On Wednesday, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. said its trains had just started running again, but slowly.

“We are not seeing any relief in shipments yet,” said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, which represents major exporters including Viterra and Richardson International of Glencore Plc.

Only 20 westbound trains moved and “only a fraction” of them are bulk grain trains, Sobkowich said. The country’s grain elevator system is about 75% full and all that grain is ready to move, he said.

The Canadian National Railway Company said the trains resumed their route between Vancouver and Prince George on Wednesday, about 500 kilometers to the north. But the corridor from Canada’s third largest city eastward to Kamloops will remain closed due to new weather issues, CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said in an email on Thursday.

Trans Mountain is working to resume operations of its Alberta-Vancouver pipeline, a key supplier of oil and fuel to the region. The company, which said as late as Wednesday that it was optimistic the line could be restarted to some extent by the end of the week, provided no restart schedule in Thursday’s update. .

–With help from Jen Skerritt. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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