Severe Weather Alert: Transportation Impacts 09/12/2017

Irma weakened to a tropical depression Monday night, with 35 mph winds and heavy rainfall as it continued northwest along its path. As Florida begins to assess damage left by Irma, officials in Georgia expanded the state of emergency to include all counties as the state grappled with flooding and power outages. Despite Irma’s westward shift, South Carolina still saw serious impacts as wind and rain inundated the coast and heavily flooded Charleston. Irma is now a post-tropical cyclone in Alabama, a rain storm with top winds of only 25 mph and recovery begins in the Southeast.

Transportation Mode Updates from Carrier Assessments

Notices of disruptions and service outages may be available on many rail and trucking carriers’ websites.

Active communication between carriers, suppliers, and customers is imperative for coordinating short- and long-term recovery efforts.

BULK: Carriers are continuing to accept and move as much freight as possible in the impacted areas, loading, relaying and staging loads as required per the network implications and evacuation orders. Many tank wash providers in Florida and Savannah were closed at the height of the storm and operating contingencies developed. Service may be limited during recovery.

TRUCKLOAD: Carriers may experience limited operations with expected service delays due to conditions left by high winds, downed trees, and flooding. Shipments into severely impacted areas may be held at the point of origin. Also, linehaul operations may be suspended.

LESS-THAN-TRUCKLOAD: Service centers in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina may have service impacts ranging from complete closures to slight delays. Facilities may begin doing test runs in some areas as recovery begins today.

INTERMODAL: Intermodal providers may be restricting intermodal traffic south to Miami until further notice. Intermodal shippers can expect 72+ hour delays for all traffic into or out of Florida.

RAIL:

CSX assessment and recovery efforts from the extensive impact of Hurricane Irma are currently underway. Several areas remain without commercial power and continue to have flooding associated with storm surge. CSX engineering crews are assessing the full impact on network infrastructure across impacted regions where and when it is safe to do so.
CSX Service Advisory

FLORIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY began assessing damage to the terminals and networks, yesterday and will continue working north to Ft. Pierce as weather permits. Terminals will begin rolling startups as conditions permit. Interchange traffic to/from NS and CSX is targeted to resume Tuesday morning.

Norfolk Southern Effective immediately all origin facility gates for shipments destined to Charleston are open. At this time, origin facility gates remain closed to traffic destined to the following locations and will reopen once our routes are deemed safe for movement:

  • FEC destinations
  • Jacksonville
  • Savannah-Garden City

The Jacksonville Intermodal facility opened at 7:00am this morning to outgates only. At 12:00pm today NS will evaluate inventory levels in Jacksonville to determine when to open the facility to ingate shipments.

Transportation Updates from Port, Depots, and Support Assessments

TX

Shipping delays and transportation difficulties could continue for weeks, but vessel operations have resumed at all ports.

GA

Georgia Port Authority reported no water damage as a result of the storm. In addition, hurricane straps installed on empty containers and ship-to-shore cranes prevented any cargo, crane or other infrastructure damage. Assessment of other facilities including Brunswick are currently under way. Critical workforce will be returning Tuesday morning to prepare the terminal for cargo operations. GPA will be working with many logistics partners to determine re-opening of the port and river channel. As of now, GPA expects truck gates to resume operation Wednesday morning.

FL

Ports are assessing damage and will reopen following approval from the U.S. Coast Guard. Some terminals are operational, ports are ready to deliver fuel, have fuel in reserves, and fuel ships ready to come to port. Florida Ports Council anticipates fuel deliveries to resume quickly and are encouraged additional operations will be back online soon as well.

SC

Adverse weather conditions associated with Irma departed the Charleston area on Monday evening, September 11.  Cargo and facilities at the South Carolina Ports Authority avoided any significant impacts.

Gates and container marshalling yards opened at 06:00 this morning (Tuesday, September 12) and are fully operational for the receipt and delivery of loads, empties and refrigerated cargo.  Other terminals and offices are also observing normal operational hours. The US Coast Guard completed a survey of the navigational channels this morning, and the Port of Charleston is open without restriction.

Market Impacts & Highway Updates

Market Impact

Productivity

Residents in Florida and Georgia are being allowed to return now, with evacuation orders lifted. Homes and businesses along the storm’s path, particularly in Florida suffered much damage and some areas remain without power and water.  According to the Weather Channel, more than 7.5 million people were without power in the Southeast Tuesday morning.

Capacity

The aftermath of Harvey and Irma will continue to affect capacity in an already tight market over the next few weeks and even into the retail/holiday season.

Fuel

Shortages and disruptions to the fuel line have been reported at stations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, specifically near areas around the I-95 corridor.

Pricing

As with other natural disasters, the full scope of Irma’s impact on pricing won’t be immediately known but shippers could expect spot rate to increase similarly to spikes in the aftermath of Harvey. The major increase to rates will likely to be on freight moving into the Southeast.

Highway Updates

TX

At this time all interstates are open in the Houston area and conditions in terms of road access continue to improve.

FL

There are a number of closures due to Hurricane Irma. https://fl511.com/List/Alerts

GA

Due to extra heavy traffic on I-75 potentially starting to return to Florida, the normal schedule for the 75 South Express lanes has been revised. At noon on Monday, September 11: The Express Lanes began operating SOUTHBOUND and will remain that way until further notice to accommodate the return Florida traffic.

The State Road and Toll Authority has temporarily suspended tolls on the 75 South Express Lanes until further notice. Tractor trailers are not allowed to use the Express Lanes.