As many parts of BC continue to deal with the impact of devastating flooding, experts are warning that the strain on supply chains could lead to an increase in panic-buying.
While a state of emergency declaration gives the province the power to set limits on goods, those limits have not yet been put into place.
Furthermore, the effects of flooding on farms in the Fraser Valley could have consequences for Metro Vancouver.
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Dr. Feyza Sahinyazan is an assistant professor at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. She told Daily Hive that while the recent flooding will absolutely have an impact on supply chains, there were already issues prior to this weather event.
“There was pressure on our food and other supply chains due to the global congestion in the major ports.”
Sahinyazan pointed out that 20% of the food consumed in Metro Vancouver actually comes from other parts of BC, including the Fraser Valley. This is mostly in the form of poultry, eggs, dairy, and milling products.
“Obviously, in the long term, if the roads are not cleared up, we can expect to observe further pressure on these particular commodities. But, in the short term, the biggest risk is panic-buying behaviour. So, in these events historically (the most recent example is the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic), people irrationally purchase excess amounts that they cannot consume in a reasonable amount of time (before the best-before dates), for example,” said Sahinyazan.
“The best thing as a community we can do is to be patient and give some time for the supply chains to restore (some flexible and creative solutions such as transporting through water temporarily can help). Panic-buying only puts more pressure on the supply chain recovery and causes more food waste in the short term.”
Matti Polychronis, a spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver, told Daily Hive about how they’re being impacted.
“Vessel delays and heightened anchorage demand are expected due to disruptions to terminal operations,” Polychronis said. “We are working closely with our terminal operators, railways, and all levels of government to understand the impacts of these delays on terminal operations and to develop a recovery plan.”
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, BC Premier John Horgan urged residents to only take what they need, and to not hoard goods.