PEI

P.E.I. truckers forced to detour by N.B. flooding

Some P.E.I. trucking companies are feeling the effects of the flooding and highway closures in New Brunswick — they're being forced to take detours, adding an hour to two hours to their trip.

'We're having to reroute a good amount of our loads, adding about an hour to two hours'

A portion of the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Fredericton was closed Thursday evening and could remain closed for days. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Some P.E.I. trucking companies are feeling the effects of the flooding and highway closures in New Brunswick. They're being forced to take detours, adding one or two hours to their trip.

"They're having an effect for sure," said Andy Keith, one of the owners of Seafood Express in Charlottetown. 

"We're having to reroute a good amount of our loads off the Island, adding about an hour to two hours to our trip."

The detours are affecting customer deliveries and also the company's drivers.

Andy Keith of Seafood Express says the flooding is affecting about half of the company's fleet when the trucks travel off Island. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"It also has quite an effect on our drivers too because it adds time to their trip which eats away at their log book," Keith said.

"We run all electronic logs so it's important that we keep the drivers moving when they should be moving. It's important for us to make their trips as efficient as possible."

Goods not affected

The added travel time is not affecting the goods being transported through New Brunswick. Keith said. 

Seafood Express keeps a watch on the weather 24-7, monitoring situations like the road closures in New Brunswick. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)
 

"All our freight is temperature-controlled so there's always a concern there when you have a longer trip," Keith said.

"But luckily we have all of the systems and tools in place that we're able to monitor our temperatures and make sure that everything is on temperature for the entire duration of the trip."

Seafood Express sends between 10 and 15 trucks a day off Island and Keith estimates about half of them are being forced to take a detour.'

Monitoring the situation

Scott Annear, general manager of Morley Annear Limited in Montague, P.E.I. said his trucks heading for Toronto and Montreal are also being affected by the flooding.

A kayaker makes his way past a highway ramp as the St. John River water levels rise faster than normal around Fredericton, pushing the river past the flood stage in the New Brunswick capital on Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"They're going from Fredericton down to Saint John and across now instead of going from Fredericton right straight through to Moncton," Annear said.

Obviously the quicker it can get fixed, the better.— Andy Keith

"My drivers up until yesterday were saying it was down to one lane traffic in one spot and then the waters rose more so they shut it off altogether last night."

Annear and Keith both say they'll be watching the situation in New Brunswick carefully.  

"We have a team in our office that constantly monitors things like weather conditions and safe driving conditions," Keith said.

"It's a 24-7 operation so when we feel — whether it's winter driving or a natural disaster like the floods here, puts both our driver and our customers' freight and the general public at harm, we take that very seriously."

'Concerned for the general public'

Both are also thinking about the communities that their trucks travel past.

'It is a slight inconvenience but I'd be more concerned about the people that are having the issues,' said Scott Annear or Morley Annear Trucking. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

"Really the biggest factor for us is our drivers, our customers and obviously we're concerned for the general public living and working in that area too," Annear said.

"It is a slight inconvenience but I'd be more concerned about the people that are having the issues than our trucks."

Until the flood waters recede, the Island companies will continue to travel the best they can through areas affected by flooding.

"Obviously the quicker the better but our main concern is the safety of everybody in the area and the safety of people driving through those areas," Keith said.

"If it's safer for us to take the detour, we'll stick with the detour. But obviously the quicker it can get fixed, the better."

'If it's safer for us to take the detour, we'll stick with the detour,' said Keith.

More P.E.I. News: 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

now