By David Ljunggren | Reuters

OTTAWA – In the aftermath of disastrous floods last month that cut off Canada’s main port, Ottawa will convene a summit of industry figures and shippers to discuss strengthening supply chains, a government source said on Sunday.

The event will take place in early 2022, said the source, who requested anonymity because the person is not authorized to speak to media about the event.

Canadian transportation supply chains have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the floods and landslides in the Pacific Coast province of British Columbia.

The summit will bring together shippers, ports, terminals and the railway and trucking sectors as well as organizations that run critical infrastructure to discuss how to ensure the supply chains can recover fully and make them more resilient, the source said.

Floods and landslides temporarily cut tracks into Vancouver operated by Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. The province declared a state of emergency and rationed gasoline.

The majority of Canadian exports, which account for nearly one-third of the country’s GDP, travel to the Pacific coast to reach Asian markets.

The supply-chain route relies on two rail lines and a handful of highways through the Rocky Mountains and rugged British Columbia interior to Vancouver. Experts say building new tracks or roads would not be practical.

One option could be to reduce reliance on Vancouver and make more use of the smaller port at Prince Rupert, in northern British Columbia, which plans to increase its container capacity by one-third by 2023.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney