We have been tracking Hurricane Florence for several days and it is expected to cause major disruption in Southeast and Mid-Atlantic ports, airports, rail terminals and trucking operations. At this time the storm is approaching Category 5 status and winds could reach 150 miles per hour when it hits late Wednesday/early Thursday.
Current projections have the storm coming ashore in the Carolinas with heavy rain that could linger for days impacting coastal and inland points with severe flooding and wind damage. We can expect substantial power outages and major disruptions to travel for a period of days.
The states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have already declared emergencies to prepare for this severe weather event. All cargo terminals are making preparations to maximize output over the next 24 hours and be closed during the height of the storm. At this time we have the following port statuses:
Charleston - over 1 million people have been given evacuation notices. The marine terminals are operating today while making preparations for severe weather. We can expect terminals to be closed sometime on Wednesday. Shipping channels planned for closure at 1800 hours on September 12.
Wilmington, NC - Port authorities have extended gate hours today until 7 PM to move as much cargo as possible in anticipation of closing on Wednesday and very likely Thursday. Shipping channels planned for closure at 1800 September 12.
Norfolk - Navy vessels have been ordered out to sea and port officials have announced the marine terminals will close at 1800 hours on Wednesday until further notice. The main shipping channel will be closed as of 0600 hours on Wednesday September 12th effecting vessel traffic for Baltimore and Hampton Roads. HREW (CES) is closing at 2 PM today for the rest of the week.
Baltimore - operating normally at this time but making plans for gale force winds, heavy rains and flooding to hit within 48 hours.
Please be advised our first priority will be the safety of our employees in Norfolk, Baltimore and Washington. We will be planning for implementation of our business continuity operations and all staff will be working offsite to the extent they are able if we have to close our offices.
We expect further announcements today on port and airport operational planning and will keep you advised. We are making best efforts to get all cargo moved if possible prior to the closing of terminal operations and subject to trucking operations.
Batten down the hatches and stand by for further reports!