About 60 container ships are waiting to call at ports in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean as they ride out Hurricane Dorian. Some are expected to call over the weekend as the storm passes through the region, while others are being diverted to other ports.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Dorian was just 50 miles east-southeast of Charleston, SC. The Category 3 hurricane was last recorded with maximum wind speeds of 110 miles per hour. An area spanning from the Savannah River in Georgia to the North Carolina-Virginia border was under a hurricane watch.
The port of Jacksonville, FL, is open, but the U.S. Coast Guard has imposed draft restrictions of 36 feet on vessels entering the port due to the potential for silting in the ship channel. The Coast Guard plans to survey the channel for depth restrictions. The TraPac terminal there, though, remains closed through Friday, Sept. 6. To the north, the ports of Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington remain closed to all vessel traffic.
The Georgia Ports Authority said the Garden City Terminal in Savannah should reopen on Friday. The South Carolina Ports Authority said the Wando Welch and North Charleston Terminal should reopen on Friday, with normal hours on Saturday and Sunday gate hours added as well. Rail terminal Inland Port Dillon should reopen Saturday.
Hapag-Lloyd (FSE: HLAG) said 11 vessels in THE Alliance are sheltering from the storm, with no definite planned date of arrival. Six of the vessels were destined for Savannah and another five for Jacksonville.
Four vessels in THE Alliance — Seaspan Zambezi, NYK Rigel, YM Uniform and Teno — are expected to call at Savannah Friday through Monday, Sept. 9. Two other ships — the Antwerpen Express and ONE Apus — have yet to confirm their discharge ports.
A Jacksonville call by the Northern Magnum was diverted to Port Everglades.
The Seaspan Zambezi, Teno and Yorktown Express also are expected to call on Charleston over the same period. Two other ships slated to call on Jacksonville, MOL Modern and Seaspan Hudson, have yet to confirm discharge schedules.
The Seaspan Hudson and Athos are expected to call on Wilmington over the weekend.
Miami’s South Florida Container Terminal and the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company reopened on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Maersk (Nasdaq OMX: MAER.B) said three container ships belonging to the 2M Alliance will call on the port Friday through Sunday. A call of the MSC Toronto to Miami was omitted.
At Port Everglades, which also reopened on Wednesday, 2M was able to work two vessels. Another 11 vessels are expected to call Sept. 5 through 9.
Maersk said two vessel calls at the SSA Marine’s Blount Island Terminal will be maintained subject to full reopening.
Another six vessels in the 2M Alliance also plan to call on Savannah once the port is reopened. Seven vessels will maintain their calls at Charleston and one at Wilmington, 2M said, once those ports reopen.
The state of the Freeport Container Port in the Bahamas, though, remains unclear; 2M dropped four vessel calls at Freeport, with three opting instead for calls at Kingston, Jamaica. Another three calls are being reviewed, 2M said.