How Tropical Storm Idalia Disrupted Amazon, FedEx and UPS

Date: Friday, September 1st, 2023
Source: Sourcing Journal

Hurricane Idalia was downgraded to a tropical storm by 5 p.m. Wednesday, but not before the damage was done via mass flooding and a peak of more than 470,000 power outages across Florida and Georgia.

Throughout Wednesday, after making landfall in Florida’s “Big Bend,” Idalia moved northeast through the Sunshine state before passing through Georgia, where it was downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm powered into the Carolinas on Wednesday evening and is expected to move offshore Thursday.

As of an 11 a.m. public advisory from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storm still has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and sits roughly 85 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, N.C.

Like Wednesday, the storm had an impact on service levels at logistics companies with physical presences in the affected areas.

Amazon temporarily closed an undisclosed number of facilities during the storm, the company said in a Wednesday blog post. The e-commerce giant said it would use its national network of storage and delivery to fulfill customer orders from outside the affected region.

“We will adjust delivery estimates as the storm’s impact becomes clearer, so customers can have the most accurate information regarding when their packages will arrive,” according to Amazon. “Customers will see updated delivery times for their specific orders and are encouraged to contact our 24/7 customer service teams for additional assistance.”

Sourcing Journal reached out to Amazon with no response.

Amazon has a 24/7 operation dedicated to providing alerts when severe weather events are expected. The company has a chief meteorologist on staff to create weather-informed warnings for employees and global partners by analyzing weather conditions and identifying hazards, risks, vulnerabilities and exposure.

“Once a severe weather alert is flagged, we prepare activities and a timeline to act, the blog post said. “Through this system, we’re able to communicate directly with sites and drivers when severe weather may impact them and make sure they are able to take the necessary precautions to remain safe.”

FedEx reiterated that delays and disruptions were expected for both inbound and outbound shipments across portions of the southeastern U.S. on Thursday. The company’s FedEx Freight trucking division is currently not providing service to 124 ZIP codes in Georgia and Florida. FedEx’s Ground delivery segment also won’t provide service to 747 ZIP codes across the two states.

The parcel delivery company encourages residential recipients to enroll in FedEx Delivery Manager to track their shipment.

UPS also echoed its prior statements that most facilities are providing pickup and delivery services as conditions permit, with some possible delays. Twenty-eight ZIP codes in Florida are experiencing impacted service levels, down from 73 on Wednesday. But Georgia has 121 ZIP codes that have been affected.

Major ports impacted by the natural disaster are opening as the storm continues its trek east off the shore of the Carolinas.

Port Tampa Bay, whose waterways had been closed since Tuesday morning, is back open after the U.S. Coast Guard has lifted the hurricane port condition “Zulu,” which indicated that sustained gale force winds of 39 to 54 miles per hour would reach the hub. While port condition Zulu was in place, no vessels could enter or transit within the port without permission of the Coast Guard.

Similarly, Zulu was lifted at the Port of Jacksonville, with the northern Floridian port now fully open and operational as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Port of Savannah’s two terminals, Garden City terminal and Ocean Terminal, reopened their gates at 8 a.m. after the land and vessel operations were shuttered late Tuesday. At sister gateway, the Port of Brunswick, gates at Mayor’s Point and Bainbridge reopened at 7 a.m. Thursday.

In South Carolina, the Port of Charleston remained open throughout Wednesday, but vessel operations were suspended. Landside operations are working at normal time Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Although North Carolina’s ports operated on a normal schedule Wednesday, the Port of Morehead City and the Port of Wilmington will be closed for commercial operations and tenant access Thursday. Limited tenant access to Wilmington can be coordinated through the ports’ police once it is deemed safe to re-enter, according to The North Carolina State Ports Authority.

The Port of Morehead City will open on a normal schedule on Friday, while Wilmington’s South Gate and container operations will begin Friday at 6 a.m. The port’s North Gate and general cargo as well as tenant access will resume on a normal schedule.


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