Ports along the U.S. Gulf are suspending cargo operations in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac, which the National Weather Service said is expected to reach hurricane status when it hits shore late Tuesday.
The ports of New Orleans, Gulfport, Pascagoula and Mobile will shut down until the storm passes.
Mississippi River pilots ceased moving ships Monday morning, closing the river to deep-draft traffic until the storm threat passes. The Port of New Orleans’ administration building and cargo operations will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Our staff and terminal operators have taken all the necessary precautions in anticipation of the worst, while we hope for the best,” Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange said. “This isn’t our first rodeo.”
Cargo handling will be finished today on the MSC Nederland, which will remain in port along with five other ships until the river is reopened. Container gates will be closed at mid-afternoon. Breakbulk operations will continue until 5 p.m.
The Port of Mobile ordered all vessels to sail by Sunday afternoon unless otherwise approved by the Coast Guard, port officials said. Beginning Monday, no cargo will be received at the port terminals until the port can be reopened. All barges positioned in the port authority’s fleet areas also will be required to sail, and rail operations will be suspended by 5 p.m. Monday.
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