RISI

Superstorm Sandy shuts down Northeast US logistics

By Ken Norris Tue, Oct 30, 2012
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NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2012 (RISI) -As the remnants of Hurricane Sandy passed through the Northeast US, downgraded to a "post-tropical cyclone" in Monday's evening hours, the superstorm's effects were still being felt across the region.

Flooding and wind advisories continue to be in effect from Upper Michigan to New England and as far south as Georgia. The heaviest rains are reported to be on the western and southern flanks of the storm, which is expected to pass through Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

Along the Northeast coast, the major ports in Sandy's wake remain closed, with little news yet of damage. The Port of New York-New Jersey, expected to be hardest hit, closed all marine terminals on Monday and has not yet reopened. The Port of Wilmington, Delaware and the Port of Maine in Portland were also closed on Monday in advance of Sandy. There are no reports when they expect to open.

The ports handling the larger forest products volumes for the East Coast, especially the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia, were largely spared when the hurricane made landfall in southern New Jersey. But power outages and flooding have stopped road and rail transportation throughout the region, forcing traffic to hold at the ports for an indefinite time period.

Up to 8 million people within the region are without power on Monday morning, with some reports that it may take between 7 - 10 days for utility crews to fully restore service.

Most of the bridges and highways from Maryland to New England were closed on Monday evening. Multiple stretches along I-95 are affected by closings, effectively stopping all road freight through the area. Several sections of interstates through Pennsylvania are also reported as closed.

Large trucks, along with most other traffic other than passenger cars, were banned from New York city bridges on Monday afternoon. The George Washington Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge and Bayonne Bridge were all affected.

Norfolk Southern announced on Monday that shipments along the railway's network from Virginia to New England are expected be delayed at least 72 hours.

The Port of Virginia reopened on Tuesday morning, but will not be accepting vessels until later Tuesday night. All marine terminals at Virginia reopened Tuesday at 8 a.m., two hours later than usual, following the passing of Hurricane Sandy, as reported by the Journal of Commerce.

The Virginia Port Authority said there would be no vessel operations until the U.S. Coast Guard completes a port assessment and the sea lanes are reopened. The truck gates, transfer zones and on-dock rail will be operating.

For more logistics coverage of the storm and its aftermath, see theJournal of Commerce's Hurricane Sandy special topic page.

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