Logistics concerns issue Hurricane Michael service updates

Various government, motor carrier and railroad entities provide up-to-date alerts in advance of Hurricane Michael

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While the actual impact of Hurricane Michael has not come to fruition at this time, various freight transportation and logistics concerns have not wasted any time in communicating that this could be a severe weather invent that could have a major effect on operations, as well as safety concerns, of course.

At this point, and really going back to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it feels like these events have taken on more weight, given the devastation that has occurred in recent years.

That said, with Michael already at hurricane force and expected to hit Florida today, there has been a flurry of notices from carriers and states about operations and storm warnings in the last 24 hours or so and many more figure to follow, especially in the next two days at a minimum.

One such notice came from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), whom issued a regional emergency declaration for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

FMCSA said this emergency declaration is needed to address anticipated emergency conditions in the affected states and jurisdictions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, equipment and persons and provides necessary relief

And it added that that emergency declaration “provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment, fuel and persons into and from the Affected States and jurisdictions or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the Affected States and jurisdictions from Hurricane Michael. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.”

Various motor carrier and railroad and intermodal service providers issued Hurricane Michael-related alerts, including:

  • FedEx, whom said its contingency plans are in place, noting it will be prepared to provide service to the best of its ability in areas affected by the storm and as local conditions allow;
  • UPS said there will be no pickups or deliveries in some areas of Florida and Georgia today, noting that contingency plans are in place to help ensure that shipments arrive at their final destinations as quickly as conditions permit;
  • XPO Freight said that no pickup or delivery services are available in Dothan, Alabama, Albany, Georgia, and the Panama, Tallahassee and gulf coastal areas of Florida. And it added that its operations team is working hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees and the freight. We will resume normal operations as soon as conditions are safe;
  • CSX said it is closely monitoring Hurricane Michael’s path and intensity and taking steps to prepare for any potential effects on its network, adding it is curtailing operations along the Florida Panhandle and into southeastern Georgia. All shipments traveling between Pensacola, Fla. and Baldwin, Fla., and between Dothan, Ala. and Valdosta, Ga. will experience delays; and 
  • Norfolk Southern said as Hurricane Michael nears land it may become necessary to reroute a minimal amount of traffic away from affected areas, saying it will continue to closely monitor the storm and will provide updates as the storm progresses

 The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) issued an update replete with links about service updates for areas expected to be impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Several ports also issued service alerts, including: the Port of Jacksonville, the Port of Savannah, and the Port of Charleston, among others. 

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