Wednesday’s news on Hurricane Ian and its impact on various trucking sectors from reports from FreightWaves journalists and market experts, as well as relevant social media posts. This file will be updated throughout the day as new news comes in, so check back.
Hurricane Ian, which has strengthened to a powerful Category 4 storm, began to approach the coast of Fort Myers, Florida, just before noon. Transport is starting to feel the effects with road and port closures.
Here are the latest as of 11:30 a.m.:
Interstate 75 is not closed. A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation said the state’s traffic map on the Florida 511 website may show the road as closed when there is no traffic, which it appeared to be. But later versions of the map do not show these closures. Other videos on social media show the interstate remains open.
There are other road closures. For example, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the southern end of Tampa Bay, which is part of Interstate 275, is closed. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said several local bridges were closed due to wind hazards.
Florida has suspended tolls on some sections of Florida’s freeway, including around the Tampa area and central Florida near Orlando.
In addition to Ports in the Tampa area were closed Tuesday, Orlando International Airport closed at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Tampa airport left a team to assess the condition of the runway and address the hazard once the storm has passed.
The Port of Miami’s two main container terminals were closed Wednesday. Seaboard Marine said it would be open for land-based operations only.
Port Canaveral is closed and all inshore and offshore vessel operations have been suspended until further notice.
Jaxport in Jacksonville, Fla., was scheduled to close at noon Wednesday.
Ship location data shows container ships lined up outside the port of Savannah, Georgia, lifting anchor and heading out to sea.
CSX and Norfolk Southern have yet to close their rail terminals, but that could change as Hurricane Ian approaches.
U detailed update on TuesdayCSX (NASDAQ: CSX) said it was securing rail assets and noted that deliveries to customers would likely be delayed until the storm passed. Operations at several CSX intermodal terminals, Transflo transshipment terminals and TDSI auto-unloading terminals were also suspended.
CSX’s update on Tuesday detailed which terminals had suspended operations. These include terminals located in central Florida and near Tampa.
“Additional terminal closures may be required as the storm moves northeast through Florida. Current forecasts call for tropical storm force winds and possible flooding for much of the state. CSX will continue to monitor storm conditions and provide timely notifications of service impacts and terminal closures as warranted,” CSX said.
South Norfolk (NYSE: NSC) said it is running on schedule, although high winds and heavy rain may affect rail operations later this week. The railroad said in its service advisory that it is deploying generators and equipment ahead of the storm and will provide updates as conditions change.
On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden issued a warning to oil companies. “To the oil and gas industry, do not — let me repeat that — do not use this as an excuse to raise gas prices or put down the American people.”
The wholesale price of diesel in the heart of the hurricane’s path did show a significant increase from Tuesday to Wednesday, but that amount can be explained by movements in the futures markets.
The final part of the supply chain, where oil companies set the price, is at the wholesale level. Retail pricing decisions are in the hands of individual station operators. The average wholesale diesel price for Tuesday through Wednesday in Tallahassee, Fla., rose to $3.344 from $3.222, up 12.2 cents a gallon, according to SONAR’s ULSDR data series.
But wholesale prices track both spot and futures prices, which in turn are highly correlated, and ultra-low-sulfur diesel rose 13.08 cents a gallon Tuesday on the CME. Therefore, the increase in the wholesale price in Tallahassee was actually less than the increase in diesel futures prices.
A quick check of some retail prices shows no change. Pilot Flying J, which provides a spreadsheet of all its prices nationwide, listed diesel at $4.999 a gallon Tuesday and Wednesday in Ocala, Fla., and $4.649 a gallon in Fort Myers.