US: "Ida disrupts freight movement after making landfall as Category 4 hurricane"

Over the weekend, Ida barreled toward Louisiana with 150 mph winds that led to storm surges and flooding. The storm knocked out the power in New Orleans, leaving the city operating on generators. At least one person was killed.

Rescue and relief efforts are underway, but the damage to infrastructure and impact on business could be long term. For example, when Superstorm Sandy hit the shores of New York and New Jersey in 2012, the port's Red Hook Container Terminal didn't receive cargo for eight days. And repairing damaged berths, fuel pumps, transformers, underground infrastructure, computer systems, trucks, cranes and other infrastructure took even longer.

The location where Ida hit is home to several oil refineries and petrochemical plants — an industry that faced weather-related disruptions earlier this year due to winter storms in Texas.

The Port of New Orleans is also a critical link in the U.S. agricultural supply chain. About 65% of the ports' exports are agricultural products, and coffee is one of the major goods imported at the gateway, according to Everstream Analytics.

It's not unusual in the immediate aftermath of a storm for trucking capacity to tighten and spot rates to rise. After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, van rates spiked 12 cents per mile, and outbound prices rose in every major van market, DAT said.

The already limited supply of trucks and drivers available in the current market are being redirected to haul relief supplies or provide other emergency services. Tanker trucks will need to haul fuel used to power generators.

Shippers across industries are advised to expect delays on their freight shipments. "Fleets all over the country are going to drop their committed freight for relief loads," FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller tweeted Sunday. "For the next two weeks, it’s the highest and most important freight in the system."

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