Canadian Manufacturing

Plant: Supply Chain Disruption

The pandemic’s effect on the supply chain ushers in a new period of decision-making.

August 4, 2021  by Rehana Begg

Photo:© bakhtiarzein / Adobe Stock

Darrin Mitchell could see the writing on the wall. The effects of COVID-19 were shoring up in the early parts of 2020 and was on course to becoming the No. 1 supply chain vulnerability that would threaten his business.

Mitchell’s live-bottom trailer manufacturing business, Trout River Industries, was no different than the majority of manufacturing businesses expecting to be impacted by COVID-19. Like most CEOs, he balked as he watched borders lock down and witnessed social distancing and stay-at-home orders trigger the closure of non-essential businesses in hard-hit regions.

The normal course of business was already under pressure in February 2020. For one, rail lines were paralyzed by blockades erected in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation hereditary chiefs. That conflict stemmed from opposition to a natural gas pipeline in traditional territory in British Columbia. The impact of the protest rippled across the supply chain, affecting Mitchell’s company in Prince Edward Island.

“The rail lines closed, and we were watching our products being shipped via rail to the west coast of Canada,” said Mitchell. “Shipments were stopped in Saskatchewan.”

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Read more on Plant magazine, one of Canadian Manufacturing‘s sister publications.