The ports of Houston, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, and Sabine Pass remained closed today. Houston and other Gulf ports hope to resume operations by Labor Day.
While the port of Houston has reported no major damage to distribution centers, terminals or warehouses, the extensive flooding in the area has hampered their efforts to reopen.
In an effort to minimize disruption to vessel schedules, container lines have started to reroute vessels to other ports. Maersk and Mediterranean have diverted vessels from Houston to Freeport, Bahamas. The Maersk Ohio which was to dock at Houston, will now dock at Freeport, Bahamas, where its U.S. import containers will be picked up by the Maersk Denver, which is then scheduled to call at Houston at a later date.
Cosco Container Lines, which maintains its North American operations center in Houston, has advised that customers should expect delays on the Cosco Auckland that is to arrive at Houston, and that a shortage of truck drivers is expected to occur over the next few weeks.
Rail lines BNSF, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific have all suspended service in the area, and announced embargoes on rail traffic in and out of the region due to track flooding and washouts. In a statement from BNSF, “Given the size and scope of this historic flooding, normal train flows in the area are not likely to resume for an extended period. Customers should expect continued delays on shipments scheduled to move through the area.”
It is anticipated that trucking rates will spike when operations resume, as services will be in high demand and a concern exists that drivers may be tempted to switch to hauling construction materials for the massive rebuild needed, resulting in a shortage of drivers.
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