Hurricane Dorian will likely reach Atlantic Canada this week, placing the Port of Halifax directly in its path.
Dorian likely will be a Category 1 hurricane as it reaches southwestern Nova Scotia on Saturday, September 6, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s latest forecast.
Winds above 80 miles per hour, heavy rain and storm surge are expected, the Hurricane Centre said in its final forecast of September 4. It also warned that the storm may produce waves of nearly 40 feet.
Canadian government forecasters expect the hurricane to weaken to a tropical storm as it moves across the southern Maritimes – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward – and Newfoundland. The projected paths are also viewable on FreightWaves’ SONAR platform.
The Port of Halifax warned that the storm may affect pilot and terminal operations. The port handled about 547,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and nearly 4.77 million metric tons of cargo in 2018.
Jean-Marc Picard, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, said he expects an uptick in trucking activity going into the storm as drivers and carriers try to move as much freight ahead of the storm – particularly medical supplies and fuel.
“They’ll work around it until it poses any danger,” Picard said. “Ultimately you don’t want anyone stuck in the middle of a storm.”
Apart from high winds and flooded roads, potential ferry closures also have the potential to disrupt freight.
Hurricanes hit Canada relatively infrequently, arriving weakened. While typically less destructive than in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean, they can be destructive.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated C$150 million (a Canadian dollar equals US$0.76) in damage in Atlantic Canada.
While hurricanes are unusual in the region, Picard said the trucking industry deals with temperamental weather on a regular basis.
“We’re kind of used to this kind of weather,” he said.