It’s been a busy week for Canada’s international freight carriers, but some of them have a surprising number of cargo coming through their ports, even as the country struggles with a shortage of natural gas.
The number of containers arriving at the ports of Toronto, Halifax and Kingston has soared in recent weeks, even though the country has been hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.
It’s a good sign for Canada that some of those shipments are headed to its biggest city, said James Fenton, vice-president of research at the Canadian Council for Refugees.
“Canada’s economy is in crisis and there’s a lot of freight going through those ports,” he said.
Fenton said there are a lot more containers than before the storm.
He said he thinks the increased activity is because people are more willing to take the risk and ship more.
Fence and barriers were put up around major ports in the first week after the storm, and some major shipping companies like Royal Canadian Airports have taken some steps to boost security around the terminals, like hiring more police and security guards.
But Fenton says that doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
“People are just going to go ahead and get into a truck and they’ll go through the gate anyway,” he added.
“I think that’s going to happen over time, but you do have to be very careful.”
A look at some of the world’s busiest ports A look into some of Canada’s busiest shipping ports.
Cargo containers have been arriving at Toronto International Airport in recent days as well, though Fenton noted that the number of ships going through the airport is down compared to a few weeks ago.
In fact, he said it’s the lowest number of shipments going through Toronto since he started tracking them in the early 1990s.
“There’s no doubt that’s a sign that it’s starting to take off again,” Fenton added.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the surge in cargo.
Fonthonsport said that, because of the weather and other factors, the average time for cargo to reach the ports is about 10 days.
That’s also why Fenton is so concerned about the situation.
He says that while the average number of people that can fit through the gates is about 200, the number that can get through the ports can be much higher.
That means that if the port is full, the container ships can just go through, he added, and not wait to be processed.
That also means that they’re going to be more dangerous for people to be at the gates because of their size.
Fonden says the increased traffic has had a chilling effect on the people who work on the docks.
“You’re seeing a lot less people coming in because they’re getting nervous and they’re not as confident in themselves,” he explained.
Fonte added that some people have been putting in extra hours to keep things running smoothly.
“Some of them are coming in and out of the ship every couple of days, they’ve been doing all kinds of stuff, but they’re just getting really tired of the job,” he noted.
“They’re really stressed.”
But for people like Alex Zimadis, he has faith that things will work out and the containers will get through.
“The ships are getting loaded and the ships are loaded and they have the capacity and the cargo capacity, and the people that work there are going to have to do what they need to do to keep it safe,” he continued.
“That’s the job.”