Extreme Cold Hobbles Port of NYNJ - Global Trade Magazine
  January 6th, 2018 | Written by

Extreme Cold Hobbles Port of NYNJ

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  • Snow storm caused terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey to close early this week.
  • Port operations at NYNJ were scheduled to be close to normal on Friday.
  • Weather prevented the export of 1.5 million tons of iron ore pellets out of northern Minnesota.

Extreme cold conditions and a so-called bomb cyclone snow storm caused terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey to close early this week, slowing the shipping supply chain across North America.

The Arctic temperatures were caused by a bombogenesis, a meteorological term referring to a rapid drop in air pressure within 24 hours.

Winter storm Grayson hit the east coast on Thursday January 4, dropping as much as a foot and half of snow on New England states amid blizzard conditions. The unusual cold air system reached as far south as Florida.

In the Port of New York and New Jersey, terminals announced that were closing at 10:30 am on January 4 due to the extreme winter storm conditions. Temperatures in the New York have been well below freezing since Christmas, dipping close to zero degrees Fahrenheit at times, with the wind chill making it feel that much colder. With six to eight inches of snow falling on the New York area, schools and offices were closed on Thursday in many locations throughout the region.

Port operations at NYNJ were scheduled to be close to normal on Friday with additional hours being scheduled for next week to make up for the weather-related slowdown.

At The Port of Virginia six to 10 inches of snow at the Norfolk Harbor terminals and three inches at Richmond Marine Terminal, combined with high winds, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures compromised port operations on Thursday and until Friday night. John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority said all Port of Virginia terminals will be ready for full operations on Monday. Previously unscheduled 8 AM gate openings on Saturday and Sunday were put in place to facilitate cargo recovery operations.

Elsewhere, Great Lakes shipping ground to a halt, preventing the export of 1.5 million tons of iron ore pellets out of northern Minnesota. Shippers and carriers had hoped to rush the loads out during the last two weeks of the northern shipping season, as nine freighters on Lake Superior remained at anchor offshore Duluth for several days waiting to load the pellets. But with the extreme cold preventing normal port operations and the lakes starting to ice up officials now say it’s just not going to happen.