Hurricane Matthew has disrupted container vessel traffic, closed ports at Caribbean hubs and in Florida, and raised alarms farther up the US South Atlantic coast as the killer storm moves north.
Airports in Florida have already announced flight cancellations and closures, with expectations of disruption throughout the system.
The hurricane has caused havoc for ship schedules as vessels change routings to avoid dangerous weather.
Container transshipment ports at Kingston, Jamaica; Caucedo, Dominican Republic, and Freeport, Bahamas, have been affected by the storm. Ports in Jamaica and Haiti were closed last weekend as the hurricane approached. The Kingston Freeport Container Terminal at the biggest port in Jamaica reopened Tuesday after closing Saturday.
Forecasters said Wednesday morning that the storm was expected to move through the Bahamas by Thursday evening, graze the east coast of Florida, and veer northeast toward the Carolinas before possibly edging out to sea.
In Florida, the Coast Guard ordered a halt to cargo activity Wednesday at South Florida ports including Miami, Port Everglades, Miami River terminals, Palm Beach, and Fort Pierce. Farther north, Port Canaveral halted operations Tuesday.
The Coast Guard ordered a halt to Jacksonville vessel traffic, bunkering, and cargo transfers effective 8 a.m. Thursday in anticipation of gale-force winds. The Jacksonville Port Authority said its terminals would close at 3 p.m. Thursday and reopen Monday.
The Georgia Ports Authority said it planned to keep its Savannah and Brunswick terminals open Wednesday and Thursday, but was monitoring the storm and preparing for heavy rain and winds.
The North Carolina State Ports Authority also planned to keep terminals open but was securing equipment and lowering container stacks in expectation of high winds.
Several million residents of South Atlantic coastal areas have been warned to prepare to leave their homes and emergency declarations have been issued for parts of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
We will continue to monitor shipments and advise as appropriate.