The list of transportation and logistics services needed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is long and changing and not likely to get shorter in coming months.
“The long-term needs are just now beginning to be understood,” said Jock Menzies, president of the American Logistics Aid Network. “At first there was so much fog about what was going to be needed. Now we’re moving into the recovery phase.”
There are still thousands of displaced people in New York and New Jersey and many more without power throughout the region. Port terminals have reopened, and roads and highways are clear, but communities leveled by the “superstorm” are still a long way from recovery.
Weeks after Sandy, “voluntary organizations are still talking about response efforts, about getting to people they haven’t served yet,” said Kathy Fulton, director of operations at ALAN. “We’re just at the beginning of the recovery phase.”
ALAN, founded after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, connects relief organizations to transportation and logistics companies that donate everything from transportation services to warehouses to experienced logistics personnel. Specific goods and services needed by relief agencies are posted on ALAN’s online portal, accessible through http://www.alanaid.org/.
“We’ve had requests for materials handling equipment including lift trucks and pallet jacks,” Menzies said. “We’re looking for a straight truck with a lift gate right now to do some delivery work in New Jersey with the American Red Cross.”
A quick perusal of ALAN’s portal site shows the variety of goods or services requested by relief agencies, from transportation to buckets, laundry supplies to laptops and even gift cards from big box retailers and home improvement stores.
Warehousing space is likely to become more critical as donated goods — solicited and unsolicited — pour into the Northeast. “There’s been so much unsolicited or undesignated supplies sent to the city already,” said Fulton. “No one has asked for them, no one has said who they are for. From a logistics perspective, that’s a huge challenge. They clog the infrastructure that’s in place. If you have to unload a truck of mystery bags sitting in front of a truck of lifesaving supplies, that’s bad.”
Donating money directly to relief organizations involved in the recovery is a better way to get needed relief supplies to storm victims, Menzies and Fulton said.