Heavy flooding along the shores of English Bay caused by Tropical Storm Beryl has severely impacted West Fraser Timber’s shipments of lumber throughout British Columbia. In response, the company has asked customers to divert shipments to ports in Sidney, British Columbia, the Maritime Ports Authority in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at Halifax’s George Armstrong International Airport. “We were concerned that we may be losing orders to a competitor because of the trade disruptions,” said West Fraser spokesperson Lucy Holz. “So we’re making ourselves available to our customers to find a solution that’s in the best interest of our business.”
The extreme weather also caused delays at the port of Vancouver, which is one of West Fraser’s major shipping centers, and caused planes to be delayed when the Bay Bridge was blocked by flooding. The Bridge, which has had several incidents recently due to extreme weather, has had a 53 percent decline in traffic since May 2017.
Last year, a significant amount of American lumber imports were sourced from British Columbia. According to data gathered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bureau of Industry and Security, American lumber imports from Canada have increased by over 18 percent since 2015.
The number of American lumber imports from British Columbia is about 3.8 million tons, and about 90 percent of that is shipped by West Fraser. The weather has also caused lumber prices to increase, lifting West Fraser’s fourth-quarter earnings by about 33 percent.
Read the full story at The Globe and Mail.
Photos show devastation to coastal British Columbia after heavy rains