The Hocke Net

1.19.12 - Ken Hocke Blog photo Marine industry weathers superstorm

November 8, 2012

It's been two weeks since Superstorm Sandy roared into New York and New Jersey like a reality television star — lots of hype and, for the marine industry, not a whole lot of substance. Yes, there were some individual companies that suffered and are still suffering, but, by and large, the marine industry was ready for Sandy — superstorm designation and all.

“I want to emphasize that each port has a hurricane preparedness and business recovery plan that they put in place in advance of potential approaching hurricanes, like Sandy,” said Aaron Ellis, public affairs director at the American Association of Port Authorities. “These measures are designed to first protect lives and worker safety, and then to secure equipment and facilities to minimize potential damage to cargo and/or facilities.”

The Port of New York/New Jersey is open and back on track, with the exception of some restrictions on the Arthur Kill, a tidal straight separating the two states.

“There’s some pollution in the water, and there are people picking it up,” said U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Charles W. Rowe. “It’s just very minor no-wake restrictions. Other than that, the port is 100 percent open.”

There are refineries in the area that are still shut down, and their immediate futures as far as coming back on line remain question marks. There are infrastructure problems that are affecting other modes of transportation in the area — particularly rail traffic.

“The infrastructure around here was bad already,” said Dr. Walter Kemmsies, chief economist, Moffit & Nichol. “We’ve been operating on vapor for a long time.”

While cleanup and recovery problems remain for the New York/New Jersey area, the majority of those problems are on land, where traffic in and out of the port may divert additional ships away from NY/NJ to Norfolk or Baltimore. “Distribution is going to be gummed up,” said Kemmsies.

And what about the economic impact on the maritime industry? Kemmsies said those numbers are still be calculated.


Expand/View Comments -  3 Comments
01/28/2013 10:21:31 Carolina Salguero says:

At PortSide NewYork, we are now catching up on coverage of maritime Sandy story, from damage to role in recovery, with an eye to creating programs as we did about marine response to 9/11. (See I think Sandy damage to NY-NJ marine industry was much worse than indicated here. Vessels and crews survived but many piers, ops/dispatch offices and repair facilities of brownwater sector were wrecked, plus many company trucks, forklifts etc. Any one know state of damage to dry docks? Red Hook container terminal ran on generators for many weeks where 100 container-moving chassis were flooded and need replacement parts. Anyone know about about the bigger cont ports? Some of MOTBY and Staten Island Richmond Terrace marine business are still without Con Ed electric reconnection as of late Jan 2013. We are looking for maritime Sandy stories. Get in touch if you have info, photos, videos to share.

11/08/2012 16:51:06 Clark Dodge says:

Aloha from Hawaii. Kathleen Gleaves, made some great Comments and I too have been heavily involved in Emergency Preparedness. For instance when Seattle had its earthgquake we sat at the pier in Winslow waiting for the Ok to head back to Seattle. Many time there are stormes and the power goes out and it has little to no effect on the ferries as we have Emergency Back feed power to the piers and bridges for Auto traffic. Cars and passages can walk ashore or aboard and we have lights up the dock to keep everyone safe. The deckhands simply plug in the power cords and flip the switch. The ferries play a huge part in moving people. I have seen nothing about New York, so I can't comment there, but the potential is the same.

11/08/2012 16:34:12 KATHLEEN GLEAVES says:

As an emergency preparedness and business continuity planner specializing in ports, I have to say that declaring "the port 100 percent open" doesn't mean the ports are functioning at 100 percent. It shouldn't be interpreted that the maritime industry came through without impact. So much of the business activity of a port is dependent on others; vendors, suppliers, customers, shippers, truck drivers, rail, skilled workers, and many many more dependencies. If these supporting stakeholders are seriously impacted, there is a significant ripple effect on the business of the port. Just because they CAN be open for business, doesn't mean they ARE doing business. Having your physical facility up and functioning is only part of the totality of a business operation. There is just so much more to it.


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