The Market Impact of Hurricane Dorian


Hurricane Dorian continues to bear down on the US coastline as of Tuesday morning, its exact landing spot still undetermined.  A state of emergency has been declared for most of the coastal counties from North Carolina to the tip of Florida. As always happens when tragedy strikes, the trucking industry is ready to jump into action to supply relief where it is needed in the wake of the storm. Florida has already suspended certain safety regulations, include hours of service, for any drivers that are providing direct assist to the relief efforts. This opens up a much-needed avenue to increase volume to the impacted areas, but it also provides a unique opportunity to drivers to bring in more revenue than would be possible under regular circumstances.

While over the road truckers are working on plans to help mitigate the damage done by the storm, those who rely on the Port of Savannah are closely watching the storm and holding their breath. It is the third largest port in the United States and is incredibly vital for almost all of the major shippers. If the hurricane follows a path similar to that of Hurricane Matthew, damaging winds and flooding could shut down the port. The subsequent reallocation of boxes to new ports would send ripple effects through the nations supply chain that could take months to level out.

It’s not just the domestic ports that will be impacted. The storm is currently stalled over the Bahamas, home of the Freeport Container Port. This port is a major player in the transshipment market and any closures due to damage would have a similar impact to that of the closure of the Port of Savanah. The reallocation of these boxes would create more congestion and further delay shipments.

The unpredictability of these storms makes them difficult to plan for, but disaster relief teams are already being dispatched to do what they can to get ahead of the damage. As an industry, this will suck up capacity on over the road guys, so we can expect things to be tight over at least the next to weeks in that respect. For now, everyone is holding onto hopes that the damage done by the storm will not be catastrophic.

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