This piece was originally published in “American Shipper.”
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, it’s likely to take several weeks for ports and refineries in affected areas to repair damaged equipment, fix associated issues and reopen after the storms. And, just like any time a port is closed, downstream cargo transportation operations will be affected as well.
Southern Texas, an area that was trampled by Hurricane Harvey, plays an important part in the U.S. economy, accounting for half of petroleum and gas exports, one-fifth of chemical exports, and housing 30 percent of U.S. oil refineries. And no matter how fast they rebuild, these industries are likely to experience challenges in reestablishing normalcy after such a significant disruption.
For many businesses or industries, if an office is forced to shut down for any extended period of time, there will be repercussions. Profit forecasts will be off and there will be losses. But for most companies, those losses will affect only that particular business and its employees.
In the shipping and logistics industry, however, when a port is forced to shut down, it causes a ripple effect.
We dig deeper into the effects that natural disasters have on the shipping industry in American Shipper.