The impacts of Hurricane Ida will continue to gum up supply chain operations in the southeast U.S. for at least a few more weeks, triggering shortages of construction materials, obstructing truck routes, and pushing up prices for gasoline and packaging cardboard, logistics providers say.
The disruptions come on the heels of a handful of other serious disruptions, including a resurgence in “Delta variant” Covid-19 cases, continued port congestion and container shortages, ongoing infrastructure funding discussions, nationwide labor shortages, and recurrent coronavirus closures at Chinese ports, according to a report from the third-party logistics (3PL) and supply chain solutions provider Transportation Insight.
“Additionally, peak season is practically here,” North Carolina-based Transportation Insight said in a release today. “Volumes are already up, especially in drayage, final mile and for power only and expedited moves (teams) as shippers work to move more freight faster in preparation. Expect rates to increase from now until the end of the year, possibly tailing off or flattening in December.”
Among other impacts of the storm, paper-related packaging materials—such as Kraft paper, corner boards, chip board, bags and dunnage—have experienced double-digit price increases, the firm said. For example, linerboard costs are up $160 per ton since their third quarter of 2020, which translates to carton cost increases of 24% to 30%.
In addition to those pressures, the power outages and flooding damage caused by the hurricane across Louisiana will disrupt less than truckload (LTL) patterns for weeks to come. “This will increase the freight congestion nationwide. Expect delays beyond current capacity constraints the industry had seen previously, as service levels may degrade further with all the disruption and sector acceleration,” Transportation Insight said.
Nearly two weeks after the storm made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29, companies like the Tennessee-based freight transportation and supply chain management provider Averitt Express had still not recovered full operations. As of Wednesday, Averitt had restored service to offices in Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Meridian, Mississippi. But its Baton Rouge office remained open with limited service, and the company was not accepting pickups for shipments destined for dozens of zip codes in New Orleans.
In an effort to provide relief from the damage, the Customized Logistics & Delivery Association (CLDA) said this week it had set up a fund to help its members who were victims of Hurricane Ida. The group set a goal to raise $30,000, following its track record of raising $20,000 after a similar storm, Hurricane Harvey, caused widespread havoc in 2017.
“As fate would have it, the storm hit on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, causing southeastern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi to experience the devastation of a Category 4 storm once again,” Jason Burns, CLDA 1st Vice President and Director of Corporate Development for Dropoff, said in a release. “For our members who have employees, contractors and families who stayed behind to weather the storm, it has been a challenge to communicate as the cell phone towers were also compromised.”
Also providing relief was the American Logistics Aid Association (ALAN), which coordinates the donation of logistics products and services for disaster recovery operations. Among other steps, ALAN has directed support such as borrowed forklifts, overflow warehouse space, bottled water donations, LTL transport capacity, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Remember when we told you to stay tuned because we’d soon have several examples of ways you could help with Hurricane Ida relief? Log onto ALAN’s Disaster Micro-site to view the first wave of requests that we’ve received. https://t.co/gRC0wbM0C8 pic.twitter.com/xWwRVAovEO— ALANAid (@ALANaid) September 7, 2021