One of the few, if not the only, fortunate aspect of an imminent hurricane landfall, is that we have the scientific tools to predict when and where such an event will occur. Planning under clear skies is key to heavy hauling success. Planning in the face of feet of rainfall, storm surge, and wind gusts that toss about shipping containers is nothing less than critical.
Getting from point A to B before, during, and after a hurricane event will require more like a handful of letters from the alphabet. Here are our planning must-do’s.
Communicate With Your Shipping Agent
Even if the National Hurricane Center has only been able to identify the region the hurricane is heading towards, it is time to make contact with your shipping agent to come up with a plan of action. If you end up not using your plan because the hurricane changed course, even better.
You will want to discuss the impacts to routing, permits, fuel costs, and delivery timing, especially if the destination is anywhere near landfall. Your shipping agent should want to remain in regular contact to update you on the latest information, and to modify the plan as necessary.
Get Out of the Way
When the location of a hurricane landfall is identified, all forms of freight transportation bug out of that region. Planes take off. Ships cast off. If you are near or in the region of the predicted landfall, you need to move your tractor trailer far down the road.
Remember that Hurricane Irma was larger than the State of Florida. So while getting away from landfall is a start, that is just the eye of the storm. The outer bands of rain and wind will be strong enough to flip your tractor trailer, even if parked. Monitor The Weather Channel.
While this can take a bite out of your bottom line, protecting your life, your livelihood and the shipment you are hauling are the priorities, and in that order.
Stay Informed: Roads
Here in Texas, the Department of Transportation closed more than 500 state roadways because 20 trillion gallons of heavy rain and flooding eroded roadway infrastructure foundations. Bridges collapsed. Chunks of state highways disappeared altogether.
The Texas governor announced that, “TxDOT has removed approximately 432,000 cubic feet (8 football fields) of debris from city and county roadways.” The effort is ongoing. This scarcity of good passable roads translates into fuel shortages, congestion, and longer drive times. With each day, however, more and more roads are reopening.
In addition to staying in regular contact with your shipping agent, checking out the local department of transportation’s Facebook page is a great way to receive up to date, official information because sometimes the website is not always up to date. Check out Florida’s here and Texas’ here.
Stay Informed: Permitting
Federal and state authorities partially or completely lift weight and size requirements and restrictions for trucks shipping cargo that is 100 percent disaster assistance related. For state permitting, read the state’s announcement carefully, and follow the instructions exactly. Similar rules apply for federal permitting for overweight freight shipping, but not oversize. Read our blog about disaster permitting here.
Fuel and Cash
Driving with a lot of cash is usually not recommended, but natural disasters will take out the electrical power supply and limit fuel availability. Without electricity, no card reader or fuel pump will work.
Some fueling stations may run a generator to keep the pumps working, but the transaction will be cash only. Check out the GasBuddy app. It has rolled out emergency response tools to assist drivers in finding fuel. While fuel shortages are temporary, think ahead and know where the fuel is and plan your route accordingly.
Next Exit Logistics provides freight services for oversize and overweight relief assistance loads to any emergency or disaster. Because we specialize in the difficult, unique, unusual and impossible heavy haul shipments, we are experts in delivering cargo services, rain or shine.