How the Atlantic Hurricane Season is Affecting Trucking
As truck drivers around the Texas area work diligently to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, questions remain as to how the catastrophic storm has affected the freight industry.
Harvey may represent the beginning of a tumultuous, dangerous, and expensive Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Irma has already reached Category 5 levels, meaning winds could reach speeds of 157 mph or more.
September is usually the month where most hurricane activity occurs during this season. Meteorologists have noted that weather patterns can change quickly, but that recent activity indicates this period could be one of the worst in the country’s history when it comes to storms.
Truck drivers are extremely valuable in times of disaster like this, as they can bring in everything from perishable goods to heavy machinery for rescue and rebuilding operations. However, Harvey has already had a noticeable effect on the freight industry.
It is estimated that at least 10 percent of trucks will be out of operation as the cleanup efforts for Harvey continue. Freight flows are expected to be unbalanced, and the conditions of infrastructure and businesses around Texas means the freight industry will not be operating at 100 percent there for a while.
Trucking is still on its previous pace at other areas of the country, though these locations may very well be affected due to the industry’s highly connected nature. While storms can damage trucking companies and destroy vehicles, much of the long-term threat comes from the ability catastrophic weather has to break up supply chains and force carriers to work around these new issues.
There is no telling just how much longer the industry will be affected by the storm, or whether things will get worse as more storms continue to form. Truckers will undoubtedly continue to be vital to relief efforts, but the loss of business could cost them in the long-run.
As Florida’s governor brings in the National Guard and begins evacuations, trucking routes have already been suspended in certain areas. This could pose a significant problem for fourth-quarter performance should the trend continue.
Even if more storms threaten to make landfall, trucking will remain on its regular course and continue to operate in spite of the roadblocks whenever possible.