SANDY UPDATE: Port of New York and New Jersey remains closed


As Lloyd’s Loading went to press, freight transport continued to be disrupted in the wake of Superstorm Sandy with the Port of New York and New Jersey’s maritime facilities remaining closed until further notice.

The facilities were shut down at midnight on 28 October. 

In an update issued on yesterday evening, the Port Authority underlines that its staff and engineers continue to carry out inspections at the site and assess damage. "We will resume operations at our facilities as early as possible but only when it is safe to do so." 

However, all other ports along the US and North-East and mid-Atlantic coast had re-opened by yesterday morning. 

Commenting on the impact of Sandy on Maersk Line’s activities, a spokesman told Lloyd’s Loading "All our vessels and their crews are safe. Due to the rough weather, there have been some minor damages to vessels - navigational lights missing, lost SATC antenna etc. But no cargo has been lost overboard." 

He confirmed that all terminals and ports on the US East Coast - except the Port of New York and New Jersey - are open for business as usual. 

"The port authorities and terminal management in the New York/New Jersey area are currently assessing the impact to the port/terminal. At this time, we do not know when we will gain access to the Port Elizabeth terminal in Newark to access possible damage to container units on the ground or when we can resume normal terminal operation," he added. 

The picture is more positive for air transport, with New York’s main airports, JFK and Newark, having re-opened on Wednesday morning. Although flight services have not been fully restored and vary from carrier to carrier. 

British Airways said it was aiming to operate a near normal schedule to New York, while Air France said its flights to and from New York, Washington and Boston had resumed. 

In its latest update, issued yesterday, FedEx said that the severe weather system that brought hazardous conditions across the US North-East is still leaving difficult conditions and continues to affect FedEx operations. "Unavoidable" service delays should be expected, due to local road conditions across around 15 states in the region, it added. 

While the situation appears to be improving generally, a key issue remains of the power outages. 

On Wednesday an estimated 6.2 million homes and businesses were without power because of the storm. 

In a message to customers today, forwarder SBS Worldwide said its New Jersey office was still without power, and that the local supply company estimates it will likely be several days before electricity can be restored. 

Until the situation returns to normal in the New York area, SBS Worldwide is advising customers to contact the company’s Chicago office who it says will assist with re-routing options, local pick ups and offer contingency solutions in order to prevent further interruptions to supply chain processes caused by the storm.