Fallout of Hurricane Irma on Shipping

 In carriers, container shipping, importers, International Shipping, international shipping news

Hurricane Irma

NASA image of Hurricane Irma

The worst is over with Hurricane Irma; however, Florida and Georgia took pretty big hits. Millions are without power. Homes and businesses were damaged. Worse, ABC reported the death toll in the U.S. from the hurricane is up to 12.

Among business offices to close was Universal Cargo’s Atlanta office. But many of our Atlanta team members were still assisting customers from home.

In an email yesterday, one of Universal Cargo’s business associates, Danny L. Roberts, from G & P Trucking Company shared the following port status updates, along with effects on G & P’s trucking services:

1)     Savannah – Port closed until Wednesday this could change but at the moment the port is closed.  Our operations is closed today but we will have limited staff tomorrow to serve you. We don’t know when our trucks will be back but we suspect tomorrow / Wednesday

2)     Charleston – The port has closed empty pick up and we suspect will close gate operation soon as the weather is getting steadily worse with winds 25-50 miles an hour and heavy rain expected to continue today.  We will update you more as we learn the ports operation schedule.  We have very limited operations today… We expect our trucks to be back tomorrow…

3)     Norfolk – all OK but we could have high winds tomorrow which could affect empty containers allowed to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge but today there are no real weather issues.

Most trucking companies were similarly affected in the area.

Port closures and diversions from Hurricane Harvey followed by port closures and diversions from Hurricane Irma will certainly continue to have their ripple effect across the supply chain.

However, some ports in Florida are already open again while others are still undergoing assessments in preparation to reopen. Hailey Desormeaux reports in American Shipper:

U.S. Southeast ports are beginning to resume operations after Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida on Sunday and continued to make its way northward, wreaking further havoc across the region.

In southern Florida, PortMiami and the port tunnel are open. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cleared truck and gate operations for the Seaboard Marine container terminal, but truck and gate operations will be closed Tuesday for POMTOC and SFCT container terminals, according to the latest update on PortMiami’s website. The port will remain closed for marine traffic at least until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recognizes the situation and is reminding carriers to amend manifests to reflect port diversions while reassuring that ports should not be penalizing carriers for Trade Act violations.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) even waived the Jones Act for a little while to help shipping and gasoline recovery. Chris Gillis reported in American Shipper:

 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday approved a seven-day waiver of the Jones Act to expand the options for delivering fuel to states and territories impacted by the recent hurricanes to strike the Texas Gulf coast and Florida.

The Jones Act requires the cargoes moving between ports in the domestic waterborne trades to be moved on U.S.-flag vessels. However, the Defense and Energy departments requested the temporary Jones Act waiver to assist with the hurricane aftermath.

The supply chain will recover. Here at Universal Cargo, we’re working hard to help shippers whose importing and exporting has been affected by the hurricanes, but there are many people affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma who need more than business support. They need support from any of us who are able.

Kellee Mallord, Account Executive at Universal Cargo, shared an update on customers whose situations she shared with us in the first blog we posted on Hurricane Harvey:

Follow up to our Harvey conversation about the family I told you about in Houston: One house is fine, two were flooded 9 ft deep.  My customer with the WWI raft, flooded 9 ft deep too. Ugh.

Like many of us here at Universal Cargo and you out there, Kellee has many family members and friends in Florida, including the Keys. To give money to support those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, click here.

That link will take you to a Red Cross donation page.

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Hurricane IrmaNuclear Explosion courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration