“Superstorm Sandy”. I don’t need to hear it described that way again anywhere, thank you very much. Looking back at the last series of destructive storms to strike the US, nobody felt the urge to go “Killer Katrina” or “Intense Irene”. The word “Hurricane”, like it’s Pacific sibling “Typhoon”, is all anyone needs to know about the destructive power of these storms to people on islands, adjacent to bodies of water, or even inland.
For my industry (the logistics industry) this storm is posing problems throughout everyone’s supply chains. There are hundreds of ships up and down the East Coast that either cannot discharge their bulk or containerized cargo or are forced to skip or bypass their intended ports of call. What is the biggest headache right now is all of the cargo that was released prior to arrival.
Customs ties those entries to the port of entry, so brokers who have filed entries for arrivals at the Port of New York which is still closed and may have containerships diverted, may have to cancel those entries to file again at another port. Plus, the carriers will likely declare a force majeure condition whereby the customers will be responsible for additional costs to get the cargo to named destinations, assuming the containers just aren’t dropped off at the first port with a, “Here you go, good luck,” which is entirely permissible under maritime law.
One of the politicians running to be the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the campaign said, “Corporations are people, my friends.” Well, he was half right. That sentence needs to be amended to read, “Corporations are composed of people, my friends.” And those people have potentially had everything happen to them from being inconvenienced by a lack of power to the total devastation of losses to property. And those people are supposed to cope with the grief in their private lives, while presumably being responsible to their employers as well.
Natural disasters and traumatic events always garner the public spotlight and help bring out the good in our society, even if only for a short time. Consider the story of people organizing well-being checks on their own, using only social media to organize and execute. Long after the cameras are gone, it’s the utility crews, construction crews and displaced residents who are forced to pick up the pieces. My friends from the Gulf Coast who survived Katrina tell harrowing “Escape From New York” grade stories of what they had to do to escape.
While we may dull or numb to what they have to cope with in the upcoming weeks, months and years, we can all do something to help now:
- Donate blood.
- Donate money to the American Red Cross online or by texting 90999 to give $10, billed on your mobile phone bill, to their Disaster Relief Fund.
Blog post image of two women comforting each other credit Shannon Stapleton/Reuters