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Hurricane Ian further disrupts an already strained supply chain

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Hurricane Ian – a massive category 4 storm, which first hit the US state of Florida on Wednesday, 28th September 2022, and then South Carolina on Friday has had staggering wreckage not only on the lives of people but also on logistics and supply chain operations. 

Downgraded as a tropical storm, Ian continues to bring heavy winds and rain to the state of Florida, resulting in a week-long or longer-lasting logistics impact. 

With a part of the Sanibel Causeway Bridge, a major bridge that connects Fort Myers to Sanibel Island being washed out, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis anticipates more bridge damage. However, he assures, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is working to make sure roads and interstate highways are open.

With damage to highways and blockage on road, the state faces delivery delays. Companies such as FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, and XPO Logistics reported delivery delays across the Southeast.

The companies on Thursday released lists of ZIP codes in Florida where service will be suspended temporarily.

The Postal Services has suspended all retail and delivery operations in several Florida cities, including Orlando and Cocoa.

Damage to Ports

Port Tampa Bay, a major facility for fuel that is responsible mostly barged over from refining centers on the Gulf Coast, remains shut down.

All other Florida ports, including Miami and Tampa, have also closed or implemented some restrictions. and Coast Guard crews are doing assessments on each hub to decide how and when to open them. 

As the storm headed north, regaining strength, Georgia’s port of Savannah- the largest container port in the Southeast has also allowed ships at anchor to leave toward safer locations but is closed for new arrivals. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s port of Charleston plans to suspend all marine terminals operations Friday.

Impact on aviation 

Airports in Orlando and Tampa are closed due to the storm. While tropical storm Ian has not altogether stopped operation at the Miami International Airport but has caused delays or cancellations to many flights. This is likely to create ripple effects on airline networks across the country.

Other impact

CSX, a rail freight major, has shut down several railroad facilities in the Tampa area, in addition to its intermodal hub in Winterhaven and other centres across Florida.

Florida is responsible for automotive part manufacturing, aerospace manufacturing, and a substantial amount of medical device products. The storm will cause a delay in the availability of products and put more pressure on an already strained supply chain and resources.

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