Various ports throughout the United States have announced their plans over the next few days as they brace for Hurricane Matthew. At 11:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, October 5 the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a public advisory that stated the Category 3 hurricane was 55 miles north/northeast of Cabo Lucrecia, Cuba and about 105 miles south of Long Island, Bahamas. Hurricane Matthew’s maximum sustained winds are at about 120 miles per hour.
Port Miami’s latest update on its home page has indicated that cargo terminals SFCT and POMTOC will be closed October 5 for all vessel and truck traffic until further notice. The port also stated in this advisory that the U.S. Coast Guard has implemented Port Condition Yankee effective Wednesday, October 5 at 4:00 AM.
Jaxport, Port Canaveral and the Port of Fernandina are also under Port Condition Yankee, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville said Tuesday. Under this condition, no vessel over 500 gross tons may enter the port without the permission of the Captain of the Port. Port Condition Yankee means sustained gale force winds due to a storm are predicted within 24 hours.
According to the JOC, “At Port Canaveral, CEO John Murray ordered the port’s first weather-related closure since an 11-day shutdown in 2004. “This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern,” Murray said. “We expect high winds and storm surge throughout the port and have urged the port community to prepare their facilities so business can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.”
Even if the storm veers out into the Atlantic and doesn’t hit the U.S. coast, Hurricane Matthew promises to disrupt vessel arrivals as ships try to evade the rough seas and high winds. The storm will affect routings of vessels to and from several ports along the U.S. South Atlantic Coast.
Ports along the coast are securing equipment and extending hours. The South Carolina Ports Authority will extend its gate hours to 8 PM on Wednesday, October 5 for dry containers.
The NHC forecast calls for Hurricane Matthew to be a strong hurricane during this timeframe.
Florida Peninsula (particularly east): Thursday-Friday, possibly lingering into early Saturday.
Southeast Georgia: Friday-Saturday.
Eastern Carolinas: Later Friday-Saturday, possibly continuing into Sunday.
Due to the hurricane with terminal closings, it is expected that congestion issues will affect operations for a number of days.