US bulk logistics system takes a major hit
Aug 31, 2005 1:49 PM
Details are still emerging, but it would appear that Hurricane Katrina dealt a major blow to the bulk logistics infrastructure in the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The news gets worse by the day.
The latest count shows that eight refineries, accounting for 10% of refined fuel production in the United States, are shut down, and there are no estimates on when they will be back on line. These refineries produce not just fuels, but also chemical feedstocks.
Pipeline and terminal operations in the region have been severely disrupted, and fuel shipments to the Northeast and Midwest have been affected. Shortages of gasoline and diesel (along with soaring prices) across many parts of the United States are forecast for the coming weeks.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed or badly damaged port facilities and container terminals throughout the region. Containers, including those with hazardous cargoes, were scattered across the area by the storm surge from the hurricane, which came ashore as a Category 4 storm.
The facilities handle a wide range of bulk cargoes, including chemicals and liquefied natural gas.
Railroad operations were disrupted by the storm, and service remains suspended in flooded areas. Major highways, including Interstates, are clogged with debris, and a number of bridges reportedly were damaged.
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