Vessel movements in ports along Florida’s east coast continued as normal Thursday, although shipping interests in the region were warily eyeing Hurricane Dorian as the storm moved into the open waters of the Atlantic after moving past Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The US Coast Guard upgraded Miami to port condition “X-Ray” during the day Thursday, while Jacksonville was due to follow suit Thursday night. The designation meant that while both ports remained open without restrictions, preparations for the storm’s arrival kicked into high gear.
In Miami, the Coast Guard ordered terminals to implement storm stacking plans for containers.
“Container terminal operators shall reduce general cargo container stack heights to no more than two high for containers containing hazardous materials, [and] no more than four high for all other containers,” the agency said in an advisory.
All vessel movements in the region are expected to come to a halt as Dorian bears down on the southeastern US; current forecasts have the storm making landfall along the east coast of Florida Monday morning, potentially as a category 4 hurricane.
Meanwhile, some ports in Puerto Rico, including San Juan, reopened early Thursday, according to the Coast Guard. Ports on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John in the US Virgin Islands were still closed, however.
DHL’s Resilience360, which monitors potential supply chain disruptions, said less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier and freight forwarder YRC Freight temporarily closed its trucking terminal in San Juan due to Dorian.
“The brief closure is likely to have an impact on supply chains as 90 percent of inbound goods to Puerto Rico come via ocean freight,” Shehrina Kamal, product director of risk monitoring for Resilience360, said in an advisory. “While there are no reports of infrastructural damages in Puerto Rico, there is potential for berthing time and cargo loading delays due to adverse weather conditions following Hurricane Dorian’s passage.”
The US National Weather Service (NWS) said Dorian was 370 miles east-southeast of the Bahamas and moving to the northwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
“Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday, and remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend,” the NWS said in its latest advisory.
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