Hurricane Sandy, from a Safe Distance

Note: Mark Montague is on vacation.

Last week's spot market rates rose in some markets and lanes and declined in others, averaging out to a modest increase of less than one percent for all equipment types, nationwide. Meanwhile, I am totally preoccupied with Hurricane Sandy, and that's this week's big news in transportation, as well.

I called and texted all my relatives on the East Coast. Thankfully, everyone is safe. Some are among the six million people in 17 states who are without electricity, and they may not have power again for a week or more. Some of my family members endured minor property damage due to flooded basements or downed trees, but they feel lucky to have been spared anything worse.

This storm is obviously going to disrupt freight transportation. Roads, bridges and tunnels are closed, flights are cancelled, trucks and trains are parked until water and debris can be cleared, power restored and the wheels can turn again. I spoke to a customer in North Carolina this morning, where winds of 35-40 miles per hour didn't keep the staff from getting to work this morning. Of course, there are indefinite delays plaguing any trucks that were scheduled to enter or leave the storm-ravaged Northeast, so his reps were on the phone with customers today, updating them on the status of all freight that was scheduled or already in transit.

I expect that activity on our DAT Load Boards will experience a lull while logstics and trucking professionals are sidelined throughout the region, but there will be a post-storm surge of load and truck posts as soon as the roads are safe again. That's what happened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Spot market load volume set a record after Katrina in October 2005, and another six years passed before load volume exceeded that high-water mark (with aplogies to those of you who don't enjoy puns.) In the case of Sandy, power outages may persist through much of November, so the effect on the freight market may be more prolonged.

Meanwhile, stay safe out there!

Here are a few web sites with transportation-related updates in the Northeast:

The Weather Channel has an online news feed at www.weather.com.

The New York Times blog has a handy-Sandy state-by-state guide with links.

Heavy Duty Trucking posted an article today with some details on road closures, adding to yesterday's article that pointed to www.Ready.gov and www.redcross.org for safety info.

I have been looking at storm photos online and on Facebook and Twitter. Some are actual images of flooded roads and streets that look like outtakes from the movie "Titanic," and some are fakes. Still others, like this one, are crafted intentionally to tell a story.

Peggy Dorf

Peggy joined DAT in 2008 as a writer and market analyst. She was instrumental in developing DAT Trendlines, and she writes extensively about the impact of economic trends on companies and individuals in transportation and logistics. Peggy is a Certified Transportation Broker with decades of experience in technology marketing and an MBA from the Wharton School.



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