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Hurricane effect: US supply chain could be impacted

Hurricane effect: US supply chain could be impacted
Hurricane effect: US supply chain could be impacted

The supply chain industry should brace itself, the National National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting above normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year.

The Atlantic hurricane season is June through to November. The weather phenomenon can disrupt the supply chain in various ways. 

Why does this matter? Companies rely on stable and efficient supply chains to maintain operations. Disruptions can cause production halts, inventory shortages, and missed deadlines. 

Warm ocean temperatures 

The NOAA forecasts a range of 17 to 25 total named storms this season. 

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual due to several factors: near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific, and reduced trade winds and wind shear in the Atlantic. These conditions make it easier for tropical storms to form and strengthen.

Delays and increased costs 

Hurricanes often cause widespread damage to roads, bridges, ports, and airports. This damage can halt the transportation of goods, leading to delays and increased costs. For example, damaged roads and bridges can make it difficult for trucks to deliver goods to affected areas.

Ports are crucial hubs in the supply chain, especially for international trade. Hurricanes can force ports to close, halting the flow of goods into and out of the country. This can cause delays in receiving essential supplies and disrupt the export of goods.

There is also the possibility of warehouses being damaged. Added to this, companies may need to reroute shipments or find alternative suppliers, which can increase costs and cause delays. This can also lead to increased demand for certain transportation routes and services, driving up prices.

Hurricanes affect freight movement 

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused extensive flooding in Houston, Texas, a major logistics hub. The flooding disrupted freight movement, closed the Port of Houston, and damaged infrastructure. The oil and gas industry was particularly affected, with refineries shutting down and fuel shortages occurring nationwide.

Photo Credit: Canva. Graphic image, NOAA

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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