The fuel crisis in the Northeast is easing, though rationing continues in some areas and some fueling stations are still without power, and without working pumps.
However, the damage Hurricane Sandy delivered to the region's fuel supply chain will take more time to repair, according to a report from The New York Times.
On New York’s Long Island, “business is getting back to normal,” at least outside the hardest-hit areas, said Debra Pluchino, vice president of GMG Transportation.
“Our asset-based trucking division is really buried in business,” Pluchino said. “Many of our partner carriers are backlogged, and we’re helping them make deliveries.”
GMG, based in Deer Park, N.Y., trucks goods throughout Long Island for many partner carriers on the “mainland,” including national less-than-truckload carriers.
Those deliveries include donations headed to hurricane victims, including pets.
With the help of Old Dominion Freight Line, GMG is delivering pet food donated by customer Del Monte to animal shelters inundated with displaced pets.
“Old Dominion donated the transportation from western Pennsylvania to our facility,” Pluchino said, and GMG is handling the “last mile” delivery to shelters.
GMG, which operates a fleet of 12 trucks, didn’t have trouble finding diesel, even shortly after the storm. “Many stations had diesel, but not gas,” she said.
A massive logistics effort directed by the federal and state governments got gasoline and diesel back into the tri-state area.
In the wake of the storm, the federal government released diesel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. National Guard soldiers often delivered fuel to locations powered by generators.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Defense Logistics Agency sent gasoline and diesel to many fueling stations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
In the days after the Sandy, “the visibility of fuel availability became a very hot issue very fast,” said Jock Menzies, president of the American Logistics Aid Network.
Working with an oil price information service that receives point-of-sale price data, ALAN was able to quickly get information on which fuel stations were open.
“We focused their data stream to meet a need that came about because of this event. It was data unleashed. That’s not something they do everyday,” Menzies said.
Refineries are coming back on line, as well, although a Phillips 66 refinery in Linden, N.J., has yet to reopen. The New York Times reports some fuel terminals are still closed, as well.
New Jersey stopped rationing based on odd-even license plate numbers Nov. 13, while Gov. Chris Christie extended waivers on fuel sourcing restrictions.
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management published a list of open fueling stations, as well as hotels, pharmacies and restaurants, online.
As power is gradually restored, stations reopen, and rationing continues, lines for gasoline at many filling stations are already getting shorter on Long Island.
“We went from long lines to no lines,” Pluchino said. Suspending ethanol blending requirements also helped speed delivery of fuel, she said.