Ports Across Florida and Georgia Shut in Hurricane Irma’s Wake

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photo credit: U.S. Customs & Border Protection

As Hurricane Irma tore through Florida this weekend and headed to Georgia, port operations were shut down across both states and airports weren’t fairing any better.

The U.S. Coast Guard declared port condition Zulu–a complete shutdown due to hurricane force winds and storm surge–for the Florida ports of Miami, the Everglades, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Fernandina, Tampa Bay, Canaveral, Jacksonville, Panama City and Pensacola.

CBS Miami reported that Miami and Fort Lauderdale Airports suffered serious damage from Irma and that crews were working to restore order. Officials said the impact in some areas was significant, but it shouldn’t have a major impact on resuming most normal activities at Miami International Airport.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection said the Miami Cargo Clearance Center was not conducting trade related services due to the storm.

While Miami International was optimistic it could partially reopen starting Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s timetable is in limbo, CBS Miami reported.

“That’s the million-dollar question right now,” said a Fort Lauderdale Airport spokesman. “We do not know what time or day we will open.”

The airport suffered flooding damage, there were roof leaks and air conditioning units went down.

[Read more on Hurricane Irma’s potential economic impact: Hurricane Irma to do Double the Damage to Retail Sales as Harvey]

In the Peach State, the Georgia Ports Authority said the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick, which shut down on Saturday, will remain closed at least through Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Port Survey Teams will conduct final port assessments and determine when ports are safe to resume operations.

The South Carolina Ports Authority said Monday it continues to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Irma and related weather conditions. The port was open on Monday.

“Empty yard operations may be impacted periodically during the day due to local weather conditions, but import and export container moves should not be impacted,” the SCPA said on its web site. “Vessel operations may be impacted based on local conditions and U.S. Coast Guard actions, but this also has no impact on gate operations. Currently no vessels are scheduled to be worked on Monday.”

The South Carolina International Trade Conference set for this week in Charleston was postponed until October 30 to November 1.

UPS suspended service in Florida, as well as areas of Georgia and South Carolina. The global ground and air carrier said contingency plans had been put in place to help ensure shipments are delivered as quickly as conditions permit.

UPS did note that pickup and delivery operations have resumed in Texas following the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

FedEx said it has temporarily suspended service throughout Florida and in areas of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The company said it “will be prepared to provide service to the best of our ability in areas affected by the storm and as local conditions allow.”

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