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Supply Chains Brace for Hurricane Ian Impact 

Hurricane Ian is set to serve the latest disruptions to supply chains as it barrels into Florida, while neighboring states also gird for potential impacts. 

“This looks like a major event here for the state of Florida: upcoming major closures here with ports, airports and facilities,” Everstream Analytics chief meteorologist Jon Davis said during a weather update Tuesday. “Of course, roads, rail line and bridge issues will tend to be pretty widespread across portions of the state. Major power outages and then, certainly, agricultural issues as well.” 

The state’s agricultural industry, which produces 70 percent of the country’s citrus, is expected to see the most immediate impact, according to Everstream intelligence solutions analyst Anthony Yanchuk. Other industries expected to be hit hard by the category 4 hurricane include aerospace, automotive, heavy machinery and medical devices.

“Even just a couple hours of downtime in a major production center industrial zone, means additional time spent making repairs, spending on machinery and restarting work,” Yanchuk pointed out. “…. In transportation and logistics, we see that most of the ports in the region are declaring some form of caution that could impact traffic.” 

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Port Tampa Bay, the state’s largest port and a major exporter of fertilizer, began preparations to close its waterways Monday and ceased ship operations Tuesday. 

SeaPort Manatee’s cargo operations have also stopped, while Port Miami said its Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company and South Florida Container Terminal were closed as of Wednesday. 

Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport are both closed. Miami International Airport was still open as of Wednesday afternoon, but was warning travelers of flight delays and cancellations. 

Hurricane Ian to bring supply chain, logistics disruptions
People watch sailboats at Sarasota Bay as Hurricane Ian approaches on September 28, 2022 in Sarasota, Fla. Forecasts call for the storm to make landfall in the area on Wednesday as a likely Category 4 hurricane. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

There are also concerns around flooding in major trucking corridors, such as Interstates 4, 75, 10 and 95, which Yanchuk called out as “hubs for warehousing operations for major e-commerce and retail companies.” 

The hurricane’s impact on logistics and supply chains could also extend beyond Florida. An emergency declaration came Wednesday from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for, not just Florida, but also neighboring states such as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

Worldwide Logistics Group said its teams in Miami and Savannah are watching the storm and its truck drivers are likely to experience delays. As of Tuesday, the company said its Miami warehouse would have a “skeleton crew to cover urgent matters” and warned its Savannah warehouse could be subject to possible flooding. 

The storm prompted the South Carolina Ports Authority to warn its terminals would be closed Friday as it monitors the hurricane’s path. Port of Savannah and Port of Charleston have also issued advisories, warning of the potential for disruption.