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‘The goods are coming’: Pleas for patience in B.C. following reports of panic buying

Click to play video: 'B.C. storm puts further strain on already-crunched supply chain' B.C. storm puts further strain on already-crunched supply chain
WATCH: Amid the global supply chain crisis, the extreme weather that pummeled British Columbia has washed out rail lines and cut off the Port of Vancouver from the rest of the country. Abigail Bimman explains how one storm will soon affect the rest of Canada – Nov 17, 2021

The head of the BC Trucking Association is pleading for patience amid concerns over supply chain disruptions caused by flooding in the province.

“We really need to get the message out for people to calm down,” Dave Earle told Global News. “The goods are coming.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Shoppers clear out shelves as highway closures lead to panic buying' B.C. floods: Shoppers clear out shelves as highway closures lead to panic buying
B.C. floods: Shoppers clear out shelves as highway closures lead to panic buying – Nov 17, 2021

Every major transportation route between the Lower Mainland and the Interior has been cut by washouts, flooding or landslides following record-breaking rainfall across southern B.C. between Saturday and Monday.

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There have been reports of panic buying at grocery stores over fears that the supply chain, already under strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, could be further impacted by road closures.

Following reports of food shortages and hoarding at grocery stores, Canadian food retailer Save-On-Foods said in a statement that all shipments in and out of the Lower Mainland have been put on hold due to road conditions.

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B.C. floods: Transportation routes impacted by storm damaged – Nov 16, 2021

“We are exploring all avenues to get product to our stores as quickly as possible,” it said.

Read more: Shoppers in B.C.’s Okanagan worry about food shortages amid floods, highway closures

 

Earle said it’s completely understandable for people to be concerned about delays, but there is no need to panic as items can be rerouted.

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“From the supply chain perspective, it’s important for people to realize that not everything comes through Vancouver, particularly your consumables, your day-to-days,” he said.

“We can access those materials, we can access those shipments from Alberta. We can bring them up through the United States. There are ways to serve these communities, and that’s what we’re working on right now.”

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B.C. floods: Hundreds of travelers still stranded in Hope – Nov 16, 2021

Earle noted that Highway 3 is likely to be the quickest route to reopen, possibly by the end of the weekend.

“It’s really important for people to know that the goods are coming,” he said. “They’re going to be a little late. Maybe it’s a day or two, maybe it’s a little longer for communities that are cut off, it’s going to be a little more difficult.

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“This is what our industry does. We figure out ways to get what people need to where they need it.”

Read more: Shoppers in B.C.’s Okanagan worry about food shortages amid floods, highway closures

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth also encouraged B.C. residents to be patient, saying there are alternative solutions to transport food and there is “lots of supply.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said government officials are working with counterparts in the United States to find ways to divert those cut off from B.C. roads that have been destroyed by landslides and flooding, as well as to try to limit supply chain challenges.

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Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said Wednesday that the Canadian military is sending more air support to help B.C. residents, with a focus on assisting “with evacuation efforts, support supply chain routes, and [to] protect residents against floods and landslides.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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