On Tuesday at about 11 a.m. Eastern time, the Federal Emergency Management Association responded to a query from FreightWaves sent a day earlier: How many trucks is FEMA operating as part of its relief efforts for Hurricane Ida?
The response: “1,571 and counting.”
In a short series of answers, the FEMA media relations team gave a brief overview of the amount of trucking capacity it is using as it gears up its Hurricane Ida relief work.
The hiring of trucks did not begin with the arrival of the storm, FEMA said. “For hurricanes, major moves start 3-4 days pre-storm and last up to a week post-storm,” it said in its email to FreightWaves.
Following the storm, the use of those trucks is expected to run for two to three weeks, it said. The final need for trucks will be supporting what it described as “retrograde operations of unused commodities,” returning unused water and meals to their original provider.
FEMA did not provide an estimate on how many trucks it ultimately expects to use in the Ida relief effort.
FEMA does not have a base reservoir of tractors. “FEMA does not own any trucks,” the agency said. All of the drivers and equipment are contracted for by the agency.
But there is a baseload of companies pre-qualified to drive for FEMA. The agency said it totaled more than 250 “transportation service providers that FEMA can contact to request transportation assistance.” Those baseload capacity providers are part of FEMA’s Tender of Service program.
If a provider wants to be added to that list, it’s too late for aiding Hurricane Ida, FEMA said. But it’s opening an onboarding period in mid-November and is directing interested candidates to this website.
None of the relationships with capacity providers are under any sort of dedicated contract, FEMA added. Those companies in the 250-plus group receive spot bids from FEMA when it requires their service. It is made up of asset-based carriers, 3PLs and brokers.
Water and meals remain the largest product that FEMA moves, the agency said. But in its email to FreightWaves, it also specified “generators, cots, blankets, tarps, and other response commodities.”