Katrina: A Shipping Update

I've been on the road this week, but have tried to keep up with aftermath of Katrina and its impact on domestic import and export markets. The good news: there's at least some encouraging activity to report. This information comes from the American Association of Port Authorities -- an excellent source for updates on port activity. On Wednesday of this week, "the first commercial cargo to be handled at the Port of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina was 4,500 tons of steel coils. Coastal Cargo Co. loaded the coils onto barge at the Louisiana Avenue Wharf. The cargo arrived by ship from Korea before Hurricane Katrina and was stored in a warehouse at the Louisiana Avenue Complex. It is headed to the Hyundai Plant in Alabama." Despite the damge to the facility, container ship unloading was also expected to resume later in the week.

Other ports are taking longer to get back online. The Port of Pascagoula still remains damaged and is closed to commercial traffic. But "preliminary indications are that the Port could resume commercial operations at the public facilities as early as October or before ... Several shippers and receivers are scheduling their surveys and visits to the Port in order to assess cargo damages."

For those in other regions of the world who dismissed the magnitude of Katrina during its immediate aftermath -- as well as its impact on the global economy and global Spend Management initiatives -- I find it a bit ironic that the first shipment to resume through the region came from a Korean company shipping to a US manufacturing facility. Certainly, our global economies are closer linked than many think!

Jason Busch

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