The Port of New York and New Jersey will reopen all six of its marine container terminals on Tuesday after being shut down for the past week following the mega-storm known as Sandy. Sandy caused widespread destruction and power outages, which had idled the nation's third-largest container port.
Meanwhile, the Port of Virginia, in an effort to accommodate cargo that has been diverted away from the Northeast, said today it would only accept loaded containers at its facilities until further notice. Effective today, all empty containers must be brought to yards in Portsmouth and Norfolk, Va. that are dedicated to handling empty equipment.
Port officials said they have expanded the Portsmouth yard to accommodate equipment-repositioning efforts and to handle the normal flow of empty containers.
In a statement, the port said the "move is temporary and has been made in response to the constantly changing and dynamic situation that has come about on the U.S. East Coast" as a result of the storm.
As the region digs out and bails out, a transportation consultancy has pegged the damage to the Northeast supply chain at $1 billion as of Friday. The estimate from IHS Global Insight does not include the cost of repairing any damage to the infrastructure caused by the storm.
The figure includes escalating labor and maintenance costs, damage to facilities, and the opportunity costs of cargo that are either delayed or can't be delivered at all, according to the consultancy.
HOURS OF SERVICE, WEIGHT LIMITS WAIVED
On the roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a regional waiver of its driver "hours-of-service" requirements. Drivers and equipment will be allowed to work longer-than-usual hours in order to rush supplies to storm-stricken areas.
Current hours-of-service regulations require drivers to drive no more than 11 continuous hours before stopping and to complete all on-duty work within a 14-hour period.
In addition, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois have lifted their weight limits for trucks operating on interstate highways. The moves allow trucks to operate with a gross vehicle weight—tractor, trailer, and cargo—of more than 80,000 pounds so they can deliver relief equipment to affected areas.
New Jersey has raised its weight limit to 100,000 pounds for trucks carrying fuel, food, and water and to 120,000 pounds for vehicles moving heavy and oversized consignments like generators. Connecticut raised its weight limit to 92,000 pounds for all items.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has waived tolls on its bridges, tunnels, and crossings for commercial vehicles travelling between New York and New Jersey to assist in relief efforts. In addition, New Jersey has waived tolls on vehicles engaged in relief work travelling on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, two of the state's major arteries. Pennsylvania has taken similar steps for duly authorized vehicles traveling on its toll roads.
ALAN LOOKING FOR DISRUPTIONS
The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), which connects companies with logistics resources to governments and organizations needing relief aid, said on its website late Friday that it is "aggregating information on supply chain disruptions" resulting from the storm. This effort, ALAN said, will help in "identifying potential resource shortfalls and where support from emergency and nonprofit organizations may be needed most."
ALAN advised companies aware of any business-related disruptions to notify the organization by using a special questionnaire on its website prepared in conjunction with Rutgers University.