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Teck working through backlog for coal exports

The company has been diverting empty trains through the US to go around blockages in Canada
Teck has been diverting empty trains through the BNSF network in the USA following disruptions to the CP Rail and CN Rail network in British Columbia as a result of rainfall and mudslides. (Image courtesy of BNSF Railway)

Recent flooding and landslides continue to clog up Teck’s logistics in transporting coal mined in the Elk Valley to export terminals on the coast.

According to a spokesperson, as of early December, the company’s usual rail connections continue to be disrupted, so they were using alternative routes.

“There is a backlog in the supply chain that will take some time to clear and for service to return to normal levels,” they said.

“To mitigate the impact of the disruption, we are shipping through Ridley Terminals (Prince Rupert), and for the first time, we also routed some empty trains through BNSF to the south.”

BNSF routes go through Washington state and connect with the Lower Mainland, where Teck’s Ridley Neptune Terminals are located in North Vancouver.

The Teck spokesperson said that overall impacts to the supply chain depended on how long it took for rail routes through British Columbia to be re-opened.

Trains moving coal from the Elk Valley to the Lower Mainland travel on tracks owned by CP Rail and CN Rail.

Both operators suffered disruptions to their networks during and after heavy rainfall events between mid-November and early December, with CN Rail proactively shutting down its network ahead a third ‘atmospheric river’ bringing increased rainfall, flooding and mudslide risk to its network.

Teck’s combined operations in the Elk Valley produce 70,000 tonnes of metallurgical coal per day, with regular trains departing to the coast when trains are full. The recent rainfall events did not disrupt production.

READ MORE: No impact on production, but coal trains diverted to Prince Rupert: Teck
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