The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is offering cargo and commercial dispute assistance as ports and railroads around the gulf coast are still out of operation through at least the end of the week due to flooding.
Floodwaters are preventing industry operations from resuming as Harvey moves northeast into Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Harvey, now downgraded from hurricane status, continues to send a deluge of record rainfall to Texas and now Louisiana as it has made landfall west of Cameron, La., early Wednesday morning.
Ports and railroads continue to be closed as flood waters have yet to recede. Port Houston, Port Galveston and the Port of Corpus Christi are closed again Wednesday, but the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a “modified Zulu” condition as the storm heads northeast. Vessels with a draft up to 20 feet may operate within the Corpus Christi Inner Harbor under the modified condition. Surveys of all shipping channels are currently underway and ports are striving for a September 4 opening for all operations.
All BNSF and Union Pacific railroads, facilities and operations continue to be suspended in the gulf region as well, with no estimate on when they may reopen.
The port of New Orleans continues to operate under normal conditions as cargo and vessels are diverted to the Louisiana port. With the current path of the storm headed northeast, heavy rainfall and flash flooding could be a potential issue for roadways and rail lines in the Louisiana area.
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has stated that the Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) can be of assistance in the aftermath of the storm. “While other federal agencies have primary jurisdiction and responsibility for relief and recovery efforts, the Commission through CADRS can facilitate solutions to commercial disagreements that might impede the resumption of cargo flow,” said the agency.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon says it is preparing for a possible military response that would bring in troops, disaster gear and logistics equipment as long as ports, roads and railways continue to be blocked. Analysts have estimated the economic toll from the storm to reach the tens of billions of dollars.