Things are tight in the freight market and could get even tighter with disruptions in shipping freight due to storms and possible hurricanes. As we know, when it comes to keeping your small business shipping smoothly, it’s essential to have a plan, including a disaster preparedness plan. Many things could potentially slow or even halt your normal shipping operations, so planning for disasters and other problems helps you mitigate supply chain disruptions and keep your shipments moving as close to schedule as possible.
So, what can shippers do to prepare for hurricane season?
Understand the Impact
Not only does a storm impact the specific area it is making landfall, but understanding the effects and delay times can help you create a plan to handle or reduce disruptions to your supply chain. According to a report from Relilience360 and Riskpulse, “Data indicates that in the event of an approaching tropical storm, ports in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the east coast of the U.S. usually suspend cargo operations for an average of 9 days while the ports in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean normally close for an average of 1-3 days and 1-2 days respectively.”
Identify what parts of your supply chain could be at risk. Staying informed about severe weather and its impact on your supply chain can help minimize disruption and the effect on your operations. In addition, knowing where your shipments are in relation to the storm is key to avoiding problems with things like shipping temperature-controlled freight, which is time-sensitive and may need to be rerouted to avoid possible road closures and other disruptions.
Storm & Hurricane Prep
Start with some key pieces as you put together your disaster preparedness plan:
- Budget: Update or revise your budget to manage unexpected events. You may incur added costs, and planning ahead will allow you to be more flexible.
- Warehouse Network: Your warehouse partners may be affected as well. Plan and develop relationships with multiple warehouse partners to have an extra solution ready should your facility be at-risk.
- Insurance: Make sure you are covered. Understand what you have, what you may need, and what is covered. Learn about freight insurance and how it can work for you.
- Leverage other modes: When storms pose a threat, rerouting cargo to its delivery point via a different mode such as rail, may be a viable option to avoid delays that trucks may incur.
- Customers: Alert customers to possible delays resulting from hurricanes, storms, or flooding. Consider scaling up on customer service reps to assist customers during this time.
While these don’t cover everything that should be included in your plan, starting with these key points can protect your shipments, help things run smoother, and make sure your customers’ needs are met.
We’re here to help
As a FEMA-approved transportation service provider, FreightCenter can plan, manage, and execute shipping services for bulk supplies; we can also help your business or organization move products away from danger zones. Our agents are ready and dedicated to assisting with all relief effort shipments that need priority attention. Some of these essential items include food, water, batteries, flashlights, generators, personal care items, temporary shelters & tents, and more.
We can help you respond quickly to natural disasters with the ability to distribute much-needed supplies to areas affected. Learn more about how we can help with disaster relief shipments.