Snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures have delayed metal product
shipments by up to five days in some regions, especially around
the Great Lakes, and transportation and logistics companies
expect they wont be able to make up for lost business due
to customer facility closures.
"Everybody is behind.
We are probably five full equivalent days behind since the
first of the year," said Bill Ritter, president and chief
executive officer of ADS Logistics Co. LLC, a Chesterton,
Ind.-based national metals hauler and warehouser. "I dont
think well be able to make up numbers for January."
utilization during a normal winter is 65 to 75 percent, but
Ritter said there were days in January when it was down to 60
Shippers also have
been hampered by interstate highway closures, which have been
particularly prevalent in northwest Indiana, where lake-effect
snow has caused treacherous conditions. State troopers have
closed sections of Interstate 94, I-90 and I-65 more than once,
leading to lengthy travel times.
Rail lines and
intermodal business also have faced significant delays, Ritter
said, and even when trucks are available, "the older equipment
is more difficult to keep running."
president of Baltimore-based intermodal company MoveTran LLC,
agreed. "There has been a lot of delay getting trucks inbound
and outbound because of the weather. Because of fuel and brake
lines freezing and frozen engine blocks, we have seen a
slowdown. If they should have been here Tuesday, they
dont show up until Wednesday," he said.
Freight rates have
risen, especially along the East Coast, Gunter said, adding
that weather played a role there, too.
Ritter agreed that
costs have risen, saying carriers have to run trucks seven
straight days "so the fuel and hydraulic fluid lines dont
major ports affected by the latest storm have resumed normal
operations. The Port of Charleston confirmed it had resumed
operations at 10 a.m. Jan. 30, while the Port of Mobile, Ala.,
and the Port of New Orleans reopened at midday Jan. 29.
the winter weather only caused a few delays in cargo ship
schedules," Port of New Orleans president and chief executive
officer Gary LaGrange said in a statement. "There were no ships
diverted from New Orleans and our terminal operators, port
personnel, customs officials and longshoremen stand ready to
catch up on all cargo operations the next few days."
New York, contributed to this article.