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Ships, ports brace for Hurricane Matthew as it rages up US east coast
Time:2016-10-08 15:30:50

MAERSK Line has activated its Incident Management Centre to track Hurricane Matthew as it rages up the US east coast, reported the American Journal of Transportation of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Shipping lines and ports, taking recent advantage of the newly expanded Panama Canal and freshly dredged harbours that are docking mega ships for the first time, now faced biggest storm in decades.

Port Everglades is closed until further notice as is Jacksonville. Farther north, Savannah remained open but was ready to close after vessels completed operations, and expected to reopen on Monday.

"High-value, reefer cargo has been prioritised for relocation to generator-powered facilities where power will be maintained," said Savannah.

Farther north, the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, stood ready to close, but was operating normally on Thursday, and expected to re-open on Monday.

But South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley issued an evacuation notice, which cut labour availability. The Port of Wilmington was closed and expected to reopen on Monday.

Rail freight operations ceased at the Charleston terminal gate and cargo was held at points of origin - no inland cargo with a delivery of Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville or Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) interchange was accepted at inland Norfolk Southern Terminals.

On the CSX rail network, traffic has ceased for all inland ramps with destination to Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville or connection to the FEC. CSX is discontinuing acceptance of freight of all kinds (FAK) at inland ramps to the previously stated destinations - refusing hazardous and reefer cargo.

Truckers were advised to monitor road conditions for any closures or lane reversals that may impact normal access routes to port facilities.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) ordered waterfront facilities to remove potential flying debris, hazardous materials and oil pollution hazards from dockside areas and container terminals shall continue to implement container stacking protocols.

USCG Port Assessment Teams were conducting port surveys. All oceangoing commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tons were told to prepare to depart the port and quit the port immediately if Port Hurricane Condition YANKEE is declared.

Authorities may require additional precautions to ensure the safety of the ports and waterways.

"Drawbridges in the area may cease operations as early as eight hours prior to the anticipated arrival of sustained gale force winds or when an evacuation is in progress. During lock-down, the bridge is closed, power is turned off, traffic arms may be removed, the control house is secured and the bridge operator is sent to safety," said the Coast Guard statement.