Calgary businesses face supply delays due to devastation in B.C.
The impacts of rail and highway closures due to major flooding in southern B.C. are starting to be felt by some businesses in Alberta.
Freshslice Pizza in Calgary’s East Village had to temporarily close its doors early Friday morning until further notice, due to low supplies that typically come from B.C.
“We’re talking dough, sauce, cheese, produce, meats, boxes, napkins – it all comes from Vancouver,” said Freshslice Alberta president Ken Barker.
The East Village location is the first to close in Alberta with three others just days away from having to do the same due to supply issues from Burnaby.
“We also do supply for the Stampeders so they’re affected this weekend because we can’t get their order either. You dont realize how overwhelming it is when something like this happens,” said Barker.
Many restaurants are also feeling the disruptions and even if they are able to get their deliveries and ingredients to stay open, it comes at a higher cost.
“We’ve seen produce start to go up dramatically fast even in the last week,” said Ernie Tsu with the Alberta Hospitality Association and owner of Trolley 5 Brewpub.
“It starts to add up especially for the hospitality industry that is still trying to get back up on its feet.”
Owl’s Nest Books says some of its distributors can’t take on orders until roads and rail lines are reopened.
The shop was already dealing with supply shortages prior to the developing situation in B.C. but the owners say customers have been very understanding.
“Having lived through our own flood a few years ago we all understand in a really real way just how much work it takes to overcome those difficulties,” said Susan Hare.
Several transportation and supply chain management experts anticipate it will take two weeks for repairs to allow normal traffic to resume but months for complete recovery, with all major highways between the B.C. Lower Mainland and Interior severed after record rainfall started on Sunday.
While it is unclear how long it will take for the backlog to clear once things do start moving east again, an instructor in supply chain management at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology says people don’t need to stock up either.
“It’s human nature unfortunately and we saw that when COVID came out and toilet paper disappeared,” said Gerry Duffy. “We’ve got to remember our products and consumers goods and produce is also coming from the U.S. and other parts of Canada. So, we’re not entirely stuck with not being able to receive things just because the Western Canadian supply line are broken between here and Vancouver.”
On Friday, CP Rail said work continued around the clock between Kamloops and Vancouver to repair tracks and anticipated service would be restored by the middle of next week.
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