Severe winter weather closes ports, delays cargo along U.S. East Coast

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The winter storm closed ports and delayed operations as snow and ice hammered the U.S. East Coast.

   Severe winter weather that accompanied the “bomb” cyclone Winter Storm Grayson has shut down and delayed operations for shippers and carriers along the U.S. East Coast this week as the storm moved north Wednesday through Friday, dumping freezing rain and snow.
   Airports in Baltimore, Boston, Jacksonville, New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond and Washington D.C. have delayed passenger flights. Railways and trucking operators have delayed operations as several East coast seaports were closed Wednesday and Thursday. Truck drivers delivering fuel have also had to push back deliveries of emergency shipments as a result of the storm, according to the Wall Street Journal.
   Class I railroad CSX announced the closure of their Charleston and Savannah ramps on Wednesday, with re-openings scheduled for Thursday. Free time for containers not already incurring storage has been extended by one day at both ramps, the company said.
   Norfolk Southern closed their ramp in Charleston on Wednesday, with the Ayer, Charleston and Norfolk Intermodal facilities resuming operations on Friday. As with CSX, free time at the NS Charleston ramp will be adjusted accordingly, the railroad said.
   Charleston port terminals ceased operations Wednesday and remained closed on Thursday. According to advisories, South Carolina DOT issued truck restrictions on I-526 and I-26. However, container gates at the South Carolina Ports Authority’s Charleston terminals remained open through 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4 with normal operations for Friday and extended container gait hours on Saturday.
   Savannah’s Garden City terminal closed at 4 a.m. Wednesday with terminal operations resuming at 1 p.m. Thursday. The North Carolina Port Authority ceased operations at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, with operations resuming on Friday after a two-hour delay. Columbia Coastal at Philadelphia will omit Packer Avenue Marine Terminal operations until Saturday Jan. 6 due the winter storm along with severe icing conditions in the northern Chesapeake Bay and C&D Canal, ocean carrier Maersk Line said in a note to customers.
   In Norfolk, terminal gate operations ceased at 6 p.m. Wednesday with all truck gates closed until 1 p.m. Friday. Additionally, the Columbia Coastal Barge did not sail from Norfolk on Wednesday, said Maersk Line.
   The Port of Virginia also advised that Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and Virginia International Gateway (VIG) are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Saturday, Jan. 6. Norfolk Southern said it will continue to accept shipments billed to the Port of Virginia and advance them as conditions allow. However, the railway will not be able to unload and return units once they have been loaded. 
   The Port of Baltimore made several clarifications to the media following reports it had shut down for the day on Thursday, stating that operations were ongoing at the port with no cancellations or closures.
   Maersk warned customers on Wednesday that multiple vessels would experience delays, but noted that “vessel delays are a combined result of standard holiday closures and associated congestion and are not solely a result of weather impact.”

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