Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Sandy suspends cargo, freight, transportation on Northeast corridor
Hurricane Sandy prompted the closure of ship, rail, air, public transportation and many highways on the U.S. Northeast Coast.
The New York subway system was deluged with water as Manhattan was hit with a record storm surge of 14 feet, raising worries that Wall Street could be down for days.
"Hitting at high tide, the strongest surge and the strongest winds all hit at the worst possible time," said Jeffrey Tongue, a meteorologist for the weather service in Brookhaven, New York.
Cargo container operations in New York and New Jersey, one of the top port complexes in the country, shut down very early Monday, and will stay closed indefinitely, according to the port authority, which means millions of dollars worth of imports arriving for the holiday season will stay put for now.
Arthur Hatfield, managing director of equity research at Raymond James, said the cargo problem won't be a catastrophe, and that cargo back-ups are eventually delivered. "Nothing disappears," he said.
"The only time we've ever seen a storm that had a lasting or immediate impact on logistics and or freight volumes was Katrina," Hatfield said, adding that Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane. "You've got to remember Katrina was a Category 5 and the storm surge was something they'd never seen." Katrina was downgraded to a Category 3 by the time it hit land.
Delivery companies were also impacted by the storm. UPS started to reroute packages and planes over the weekend. On Monday it postponed delivery in Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C., but sent out delivery trucks in Manhattan, Connecticut, Westchester County, Nassau County and Suffolk County.
Most UPS drivers continued working in New England, except along the coast. In New Jersey, they sent out about half their drivers. The company said it was planning for serious snow in some areas.
"We're going to be doing operations as long as we possibly can, as far as pickup and delivery goes," said Chris Stanley, spokesman for FedEx Corp, the second-largest package delivery company in the U.S. "If we are able to safely move, we will."
Railroads were also affected by the storm. CSX Corp shut down between Richmond, Va., and Albany, N.Y., early Monday. Norfolk Southern advised customers to expect delays of 72 hours or more, noting rail traffic from Virginia through New England could be plagued by flooding and high winds.
Truck rental company Ryder closed distribution centers on the east coast that serve auto, electronics and other industries. YRC Worldwide also shut down its facilities on the Northeast corridor.
For more of the Reuters story: reuters.com
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