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Hurricane Irma and Its Effects on Port Operations and Rail Services

September 8, 2017   |   General

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Hurricane Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days with some decrease in forward speed. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and toward the southeastern Bahamas this evening. The core of the hurricane will then move between the north coast of Cuba and the Bahamas during the next day or two.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

You can view all of the latest details regarding Hurricane Irma on the National Hurricane Center website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#Irma

Port Operations


  • Port Condition: X-Ray – 48-hour notice of gale force winds.
  • Gate Status: Closed.
  • Vessel Operations: Closed. All terminal operations have ceased.


  • Port Condition: X-Ray – 48-hour notice of gale force winds.
  • Gate Status: Closed.
  • Vessel Operations: Open. All vessel operations to cease by 0800/Sep 8.

Port Everglades

  • Port Condition: X-Ray – 48-hour notice of gale force winds.
  • Gate Status: Closed. Closed at 1700 today. Import gates only.
  • Vessel Operations: Closed – No Maersk Line services scheduled to work.


  • Port Condition: Whiskey – 72-hour notice of gale force winds.
  • Gate Status: Open. Will close Friday.
  • Vessel Operations: Open. Will close Friday.


  • Port Condition: Whiskey – 72-hour notice of gale force winds.
  • Gate Status: Open. Gate Operations will continue until close of normal business Friday Sept 8, 2017.
  • Export Receiving will be managed closely. All 9 day windows will continue, but only 1 vessel in each service will be open for receiving at a time.
  • All Hazardous and Reefer receiving will be discontinued until reopening.
  • Gate 8 will be closed Friday Sept 8, 2017, due to no empty operations at terminal.
  • Vessel Operations: Open. Vessel Operations will cease at 2400 on Friday Sept 8, 2017. TA3 MSC Karlskrona and MECL Maersk Columbus (last vessels working prior to closure).


  • Port Condition: Whiskey – 72-hour notice of gale force winds
  • Gate Status: Open. Normal gate hours are planned through and including Saturday, September 9.
  • Vessel Operations: Open. Vessel operations are expected to continue through Saturday night.


  • Port Condition: Whiskey – 72-hour notice of gale force winds
  • Gate Status: Open. Normal hours.
  • Vessel Operations: Open. Normal hours – weekend closure expected.

Rail Service


  • CSX continues to see terminal congestion in Memphis, Atlanta, and Nashville.
  • CSX is taking precautionary measures to protect employees, rail traffic and infrastructure from potential risks if Hurricane Irma makes landfall impacting areas of the CSX network. At this time, it is not known the level of impact the hurricane will have on CSX operations but it’s path and intensity are being closely monitored.
  • Based on the projected landfall in Florida, CSX has started positioning locomotives and railcars out of their operating areas in Central Florida for staging in the Jacksonville area. The path of the hurricane will continue to be monitored and CSX will make plans to protect equipment further norther in Georgia and South Carolina as necessary.
  • CSX Engineering is actively preparing potentially impacted areas prior to the storm making landfall in the United States, including staging compressors, generators, ballast and work equipment.
  • Intermodal traffic destined to FEC locations in Florida will be temporarily discontinued starting at 1700 on Thursday 9/7 until further notice.

Norfolk Southern

  • Similar to CSX, the NS is taking precautionary measures to protect employees, rail traffic and their network infrastructure while monitoring the hurricane’s projected path. The potential network impact is unknown at this time and no operational changes have been announced as of yet.


  • FEC continues to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Irma which is currently moving towards the east coast of Florida. Given Irma’s current track and forecasted path, FEC expects operations to be impacted by the storm and plans to make the following adjustments to operating plans:

Train Service

  • FEC plans to close acceptance of interchange traffic from CSX & NS mid-day Thursday Sept 7th.
  • On Thursday Sept 7th, FEC will run limited train service. (One Southbound train ex Jacksonville & Two Northbound trains ex Miami)
  • On Friday Sept 8th there will be no mainline or local train service on FEC’s network.

Terminal Hours / Operations

  • FEC Terminals will no longer accept in-gate traffic based on the below noted times:
  • Thursday Sept 7th
  • Cocoa Beach – 0800
  • Jacksonville – 1000
  • Port Miami – 1200
  • Miami – 1500
  • FEC Terminals will be closed for all out-gating of shipments at below times:
  • Friday Sept 8th
  • Miami – 1200
  • Cocoa Beach – 1700
  • Jacksonville - 1700

Article Source
V. Alexander

Response Party: Harry Buscher
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