In Scranton, Pa., home of trucker and third-party logistics (3PL) provider Kane Is Able Inc., Winter Storm Jonas dropped just one inch of snow. Reading, just 100 miles to the south and in Jonas' arc, was slammed with 30 inches.
Yet Kane executives had little time to muse about their relative good fortune. They were too busy helping their employees, equipment, and customers dig out from one of the most powerful storms to ever strike the continental U.S. Before pushing out to sea yesterday, Jonas cut a 1,000-mile swath across the Midwest, Southwest, mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and New England. It dumped more than two inches of snow as far south as Louisiana. Along coastal New Jersey, residents reported storm surges and water damage worse than Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Record snowfall accumulations were reported at many locations in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, states accustomed to big dumps. About 40 inches of snow fell on Frederick, Md., about 50 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
At Kane, some deliveries scheduled for Saturday were, with the customers' permission, made the day before, according to Alex Stark, the company's senior director, marketing. Some deliveries in southern New Jersey and the Baltimore/Washington area have been delayed until tomorrow to give the region more time to dig out, Stark said in an e-mail.
Supply chain folks with operations in the densely populated region caught two breaks: The storm's intensity diminished by Saturday evening, giving crews of all types a full nonworking day to dig out. In addition, sunny skies and above-freezing temperatures yesterday allowed some of the massive snow pile to begin melting. However, subfreezing overnight temperatures over the next few days will turn many snow-cleared roads to ice, making travel hazardous. Also, the melting snow could trigger massive water runoff, inflicting damage worse than the storm itself.
For now, it appears there has been minimal damage to facilities and infrastructure, leaving the main task for carriers to wait for visibility to clear and get freight moving again. Eastern railroad Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS) issued a late-afternoon update saying its operations in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast continue to be "significantly impacted" by the storm. Operations remain "extremely limited throughout the Northeast corridor, in particular between Wilmington and Baltimore," NS said. Traffic moving within New Jersey has been reduced to allow for recovery efforts, NS said, adding that areas in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are "recovering slowly." Customers should expect delays of 24 to 72 hours on traffic moving through the affected areas, the railroad said.
Intermodal facilities in Harrisburg and in the New York/New Jersey marine-terminal areas remain closed, though other intermodal facilities in the storm-affected areas remain open, NS said.
CSX Corp., the other major Eastern railroad, posted an online update Saturday during the teeth of the storm saying that trains were being held up in the most heavily storm-impacted regions waiting for better weather or because of the unavailability of crews, Areas hit hard included Richmond, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; and Louisville, Ky., Jacksonville-based CSX said. In Louisville, snow drifts as high as three feet are hampering operations there, the railroad said. Customers should expect delays of up to two days, it said. A CSX spokeswoman said today that Saturday's communique was the most current update available.
UPS Inc. reported no pickups or deliveries in parts of Maryland and Virginia. Atlanta-based UPS' airport gateway operations have remained open, including its "Worldport" global hub in Louisville, according to Susan L. Rosenberg, a company spokeswoman. UPS retained volumes bound for closed businesses, Rosenberg said in an e-mail today. "There will be a few days of recovery, as is the norm with (a) major snow, because the businesses resume on different days," she said. UPS' facilities had power throughout the storm, she said.
FedEx Corp. posted on its website today that Jonas "is still leaving difficult conditions" that are affecting the company's operations. "Unavoidable service delays should be expected due to local road conditions," Memphis-based FedEx said.
FedEx said its "FedEx Express" air and international unit is fully operational. FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight, the company's ground parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) units, respectively, are providing what the parent termed "partial service" to a large number of ZIP codes in multiple affected states.