Tank truck carriers ready
for transportation demand
Sep 16, 2008 6:22 PM
"Gentlemen (and ladies) start your engines" could be the motto for the tank truck industry in the hurricane-ravaged area of Houston's Gulf Coast as carriers and tank cleaning facilities prepare for shippers to come back on line.
Hurricane Ike knocked out power throughout the region after it blew through September 12, bringing much of the industry to a temporary halt. But with a lot of elbow grease and a little ingenuity, the companies are getting ready to meet the transportation demand sure to follow.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Houston TX, said its primary assets experienced only relatively minor damage during Hurricane Ike. TEPPCO Partners LP of Houston also announced that initial aerial and ground inspections of its Gulf Coast facilities indicated no major visible damage at most of its facilities and that the loss of commercial power remains the most significant challenge to resuming normal operations.
Greenhunter Energy Inc, Grapevine TX, said its Houston facility that includes a biodiesel refinery was shutdown in the 48 hours prior to the hurricane strike, and all personnel were evacuated. Damages sustained at the facility were largely due to floodwater, which crested the 100-year flood plain level, rather than anticipated wind damage.
Other companies have reported they also were examining their facilities for damage before returning online. Many carriers are currently transporting products, particularly those hauling petroleum products. At the same time, many chemical carriers had the foresight to clean their tank trailers before the hurricane arrived and others are getting them into the wash bays in anticipation of the surge in orders. One carrier noted that he had received contact from several shippers with word that they would soon be back online.
Calls by Bulk Transporter to several of the tank cleaning facility locations that stretch from Southeast Texas to the Louisiana border, resulted in much of the same response from wash racks that could be reached--either they were in operation or soon would be.
Some cleaning facilities reported tank trailer traffic steady, one said traffic was back to normal. A few wash racks were still awaiting the return of power. Others were operating on generators. One company contacted is using product pumps on its tractors to drive its mobile cleaning equipment.
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