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Freight rates swell ahead of Hurricane Florence


Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is expected to reach the East Coast on Thursday or Friday. It’s impact on supply chains will depend on where it strikes, how far inland it travels, and where flooding events occur.

“If there is extensive flooding in the area, as there was during Hurricane Harvey, the disruption could cause rates to remain elevated for weeks. If the damage is confined to the coastal areas, the supply chain impact of Florence will likely be less severe than Harvey, because while Houston is an important regional hub, the major Southeast regional hubs — Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis — are not in Florence’s path,” said Dorf.

However, the extent to which the hurricane diverts sea and rail traffic could still elevate rates in those markets. If a storm affects a port so severely ships cannot dock, the containers must still be unloaded, stored and transported from a new port, adding to logistics costs. High flooding could also divert rail traffic.