As hurricane Ike neared the Texas coast Friday, it had already forced the Port of Houston to shut down and many post offices to close.
The Port of Houston probably ranks third among US ports in retail imports, said Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive for supply chain solutions provider Sterling Commerce. Its importance, however, lies in its role as a rail link for anything arriving on a ship.
“With the cost of freight being what it is, a lot of retailers have switched to rail,” Bengier said.
Even a one-day disruption of traffic “is going to slow things down as far as on-time delivery,” he continued. If the area is shut down for longer than a day, retailers “will see some backlog,” Bengier said.
The Port of Houston was closed on September 12 in preparation for Hurricane Ike, which was expected to reach the area the following day. All cargo operations were expected to resume this morning at 7am.
The US Postal service was also disrupted, with mandatory evacuation orders in effect in several locations the same day.