With Hurricane Dorian set to reach Canada’s Atlantic provinces over the weekend, the Port of Halifax reported that the storm had begun affecting shipping traffic.
“Some vessels are arriving early, some are choosing to go elsewhere,” port spokesperson Lane Farguson said on September 5, though he could not immediately provide details. “That’s not unusual for this kind of thing. It’s always up to a ship’s captain to use his discretion.”
The forecasters at the federal government’s Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted that the storm will “severely impact” parts of the Atlantic provinces after it arrives on Saturday, September 7.
The government forecasting service said the Category 1 storm would bring high winds of nearly 75 miles per hour and heavy rainfall in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland, and Quebec’s Lower North Shore through Sunday, September 8. Current information about the storm is also available on the FreightWaves SONAR platform.
Halifax is taking measures such as moving equipment away from the shoreline. The port handled 547,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and nearly 4.77 million metric tons of cargo in 2018.
Ferguson said piloting and container terminal services could be disrupted depending on the weather.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre also warned of large waves along the Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and the eastern portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The latest forecast puts the effects of the storm near the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the vital shipping gateway for vessels headed to the Great Lakes region, including the Port of Montreal, the second-busiest in Canada.
“We know it’s going to affect transport,” said Corey Darbyson, director of Transport Dsquare, a trucking company that does about 60 percent of its business out of the port.
Darbyson said the firm is preparing for diversions and delays in vessels. He expects freight rates to increase on the spot market, particularly in the event of a surge of incoming vessels after the weather clears.
The Port of Montreal did not immediately respond for comment about Dorian.