Supply chain braces as Hurricane Teddy nears Canada

A satellite image of Hurricane Teddy as it approaches Canada. Companies in the supply chain are preparing for the storm.

Hurricane Teddy delivered heavy rain to Canada’s Maritimes Tuesday as the supply chain braced for its expected landfall in Nova Scotia early Wednesday. 

While forecasters expect Teddy will weaken to a strong post-tropical storm before its arrival, it still could cause disruptions to the Port of Halifax, CN (NYSE:CNI) rail operations and trucking.  

The government-run Canadian Hurricane Centre expects Teddy will make landfall sometime after 3 a.m Wednesday on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Canadian Hurricane Centre meteorologist Bob Robichaud predicted winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) and warned of substantial storm surge.

“We’re not going to be sending any trucks into the middle of this,” Todd Seyward, general manager of Classic Freight, told FreightWaves. “Safety is our main concern.” 

FreightWaves Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist Nick Austin discusses Hurricane Teddy.

The Nova Scotia-based intermodal and cross-border trucking company was leaving little to chance, Seyward said. Safety managers are closely monitoring the storm and will be rerouting trucks based conditions. The carrier is being particularly vigilant about keeping trucks with empty trailers away from heavy winds. 

“The whole fleet has been told: There are certain areas we can’t go with empty trailers,” he said. It’s too great a risk.

Extensive preparations at Port of Halifax

A view of Hurricane Teddy’s path across Canada’s Maritimes as seen on FreightWaves’ SONAR platform.

The Port of Halifax began making preparations for Teddy on Friday. The port has been securing and moving equipment in anticipation of high winds, and working closely with terminal operators. 

“We’re feeling good about where things stand,” port spokesperson Lane Farguson told FreightWaves. 

No vessels had been scheduled to call on Halifax on Wednesday, minimizing any potential disruptions.

“We haven’t seen any major diversions,” he said. 

The storm’s path puts it on course to impact the far eastern edge of CN’s rail network, which also serves the Port of Halifax. It was unclear as of late Tuesday if CN had adjusted its operations because of Teddy. 

Teddy hits Canada just over a year after Hurricane Dorian

Teddy will hit Canada’s Maritimes a little over a year after Hurricane Dorian hit the region in September 2019. It made landfall as a post-tropical storm but did considerable damage and left 300,000 residents without power. 

Historically, hurricanes have struck Canada about once every three years. But even without tropical storm systems, the region of Eastern Canada — consisting of the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island — regularly experiences harsh weather.

Parts of the Maritimes, including all of Prince Edward Island, also are only accessible via bridges or ferries.  

Jean-Marc Picard, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, said carriers were well prepared for the storm and stood ready to assist with disaster relief loads should the need arise. 

“We’re used to it,” Picard said. “We’re a resourceful people.” 

But Picard said carriers and drivers from outside the Maritimes should use extreme caution while in the region, which can be prone to hazardous winds even in normal conditions.

“Sometimes they’re the ones who get their trucks blown over,” Picard said.

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