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Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on Texas and Louisiana supply chains, with land, sea, and air operations suspended.
Despite the US government downgraded the hurricane yesterday to a tropical storm, a second landfall is expected later today with rail operator Union Pacific (UP) preparing for 50 inches of rain by Friday.
UP said: “Harvey continues to cause heavy rain and widespread flooding in Houston and surrounding area. We have suspended rail operations along the Texas Gulf coast from Brownsville through Corpus Christi to Houston and east to Lake Charles, Louisiana.”
The carrier has embargoed all rail traffic for Gulf Coast locations and others within the Houston area, and is recommending customers divert cars where feasible.
Similarly, Kansas City Southern and BNSF have suspended rail operations in the affected areas.
Warren Buffet-owned BNSF kept its intermodal facility in Pearland open over the weekend, despite rain preventing access to it, before suspending operations yesterday.
All three carriers said, where possible, they would conduct track inspections and assess damage in the hope of restarting operations as soon as possible.
Winds of 130mph were recorded as the category-four hurricane – the most powerful to hit the US in a decade – came ashore in the early hours of Saturday morning 30 miles north-east of Corpus Christi.
Fifty Texas counties were impacted and US media quotes Houston mayor Sylvester Turning saying the resulting tropical storm could last four to five days. And this morning, the port of Houston notified customers it remained closed.
FedEx has told customers to expect service delays and disruptions in Texas and Louisiana. It said: “Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our team members.”
DHL Express has imposed a temporary suspension on all pick-up and delivery operations for the rest of the week, citing dangerous roads and the closure of George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston (IAH), which has said it would remain closed until Thursday, leading United Cargo to close its freight facility.
United Cargo said: “Contingent upon the opening of the airport on Thursday, we plan to reopen our freight facility on Friday. We will begin to accept and transport non-perishable GEN and EXP shipments only at that time.”
However, United Cargo did note cargo restrictions at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and San Antonio International Airport had been lifted, and they were operating as normal.