How Does Hurricane Season Impact Freight?

How does hurricane season impact freight? If you live near the Atlantic or Gulf Coast, then you know already know the answer to this question. Hurricane season is no joke. Most of these hurricanes start off as tropical storms but gain strength as they travel over the ocean. By the time they make landfall, they’re usually massive and destructive.

a yellow hurricane season

As we approach the height of both hurricane and freight season, it’s important to remember how these major storms can disrupt supply chains.

The hurricane season typically runs from June to November, with the peak period occurring from mid-August to late October. In recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in hurricanes making landfall in the US. Last year alone, there were 17 named storms, of which six became hurricanes. This year is already shaping up to be just as active, with 14 named storms so far.

Logistics professionals always need to keep an eye on storm development, as storms can have both direct and indirect impacts. A hurricane delays or reroute ships, trucks, and trains in the storm’s path or damage freight while it is stored or in transit.

When a hurricane hits, it’s not just the physical damage to infrastructures like roads, ports, and warehouses. There are also power outages, risk of travel due to high winds, flooding, and more. And that’s just the direct impact. Indirectly, hurricanes can damage raw materials or warehouses taking out a link in supply chains, and leading to backups in other areas as freight is rerouted,…

Hurricane season can have a big impact on the freight industry, from delivery delays to higher prices for products and fuel.

How does hurricane season impact freight? Let’s take a deeper dive.

What are the impacts on transportation?

Hurricanes bring a variety of factors that influence every type of freight transportation.

The effects of hurricanes include:

  • – Heavy rain
  • – Strong winds
  • – Storm surge
  • – General flooding
  • – Power outages
  • – Road, rail, and port damage/closures

Multiple transportation methods are impacted by many of the same conditions, but trucks specifically must either drive more slowly or stop entirely when it rains heavily or the wind is blowing strongly. Additionally, road closures force truck drivers to take a different route or wait until they’re allowed to keep driving.

Furthermore, unclean or impacted tracks from floods and high winds can make rail travel dangerous. If a terminal is experiencing power outages or other problems, trains may be stalled as well. In the same vein, if port terminals are damaged, it may cause delays in cargo ships at sea or during rerouting.

Courier services avoid hurricane-struck areas to keep their shipments moving, but this causes delays in transit. If a company does choose to send freight through these regions, it puts the load at risk of incurring severe damage.

All types of fuel are often impacted by hurricanes, which frequently leads to price hikes and potential delays because of low availability.

Does hurricane season impact freight? Yes, and logistics companies play a significant role in keeping your supply chain running smoothly.

Logistics Plays an Important Role in Preparedness Plans

a road that has been damaged by hurricane winds. Trees have been thrown across the road.

To combat these effects, many businesses implement their own hurricane preparedness plans. These can include stocking up on supplies before the hurricane season, having an alternative mode of transportation ready in case of delays or damage, and working with other businesses to ensure a continuous supply chain.

While hurricanes are unpredictable and disruptive, being prepared can help lessen the impact on your business. Working with a logistics company during hurricane season can help you keep your supply chain running smoothly.

At Kirsch Transportation, we’re no strangers to hurricanes. In fact, our team has been on the front lines during hurricane season, working tirelessly to navigate the supply chain and keep things running smoothly.

Interested in learning more about using Kirsch as a valuable logistics resource during hurricane season? Contact us here and we’ll review your specific needs and find the right freight solutions during this season and beyond.

a black truck driving through water as the wind of the hurricane blows palm trees.
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