Unsurprisingly, cargo in Florida, Georgia and the Caribbean is expected to suffer delays following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma at the weekend.
Ports and airports have been closed, rail services are restricted and ships are rearranging port calls after many containerships fled. Cargo ships have powered away from the storm and were seeking shelter on the west side of the islands of the Caribbean. Specialised forecasters were working with shippers to map out the best route.
Maersk sent an advisory to customers showing the location of its ships and changes to the services. More than 50 of its vessels appear to have been impacted. Changes to operations include missed port calls and delays as ships wait for ports to reopen.
Ports in eight port sectors in the Caribbean, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina are either closed or open with restrictions. Everglades, Palm Beach, Savannah, Panama City, Jacksonville, Canaveral, Tampa, Port Manatee and all ports in Key West have all been closed and are reopening over the coming days. The port of Miami reopened on Wednesday. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened on Tuesday morning after being closed for more than three days.
The port of Charleston has also reopened with no damage, and the CMA CGM shipping line has resumed its scheduled visit of the Theordore Rooselvelt container ship into Charleston. The Roosevelt is the largest container ship to visit East Coast ports, capable of hauling up to 14,855 cargo boxes. Its Charleston visit has been delayed three times because of weather
One issue that has become more apparent is that Florida’s reliance on its ports to bring in 90 percent of its gasoline has created a shortage, potentially leaving people who evacuated for Hurricane Irma stranded as they drive back home. Florida’s fuel resources will remain tight until the state’s five ports that accept fuel can be cleared to accept more tankers.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the hurricane, and especially to those families who lost loved ones. Many people are without homes and electricity, and it will take a long time for calm to be restored. The relief effort has already begun, and will continue for some time to come.