Ports close in preparation of Hurricane Harvey

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 8/25/2017

Thousands of transactions are processed daily through container terminals at the Port of Houston.

However, the fear of Hurricane Harvey brought that movement to a halt. The Port of Houston closed to all container traffic at noon Friday, Aug. 25. The port is expected to make the decision later this weekend on whether or not to reopen on Monday.

Hurricane Harvey grew to Category 3 storm status, with winds reaching 120 mph, on Friday.

Danny Schnautz, the vice president of Clark Freight Lines and an OOIDA senior member, said the closure will have a big impact.

“Did you ever see that ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where she’s on the assembly line and she’s trying to package all that candy and she starts eating it because she can’t keep up? That’s what it’s like with containers whenever it’s reasonably busy,” Schnautz said. “Whenever you take an hour, a half a day, or a full day out of it, then it’s terrible. It creates a big backlog. Trucks are sitting in line. If you have one day off, it usually takes a full week to recover from that.”

The Port of Corpus Christi in Texas announced through a news release on Thursday that it also would be shutting down in preparation for the hurricane.

“As a precautionary measure for the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Harvey, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority has increased its hurricane readiness to Port Condition One in accordance with the Port Hurricane Readiness Plan,” the news release said.

As of Friday afternoon, hurricane warnings were in effect for the Corpus Christi area, and tropical storm warnings were in effect for Houston and Galveston, Texas.

“We are OK in Houston except the low areas and coast areas,” Schnautz said. “We had two ‘100-year’ floods and one ‘500-year’ flood in the past four years. And the low parts were hit, but most of Houston was OK. This will be a big deal down along the coast. Those people need to get out or get up, and many of them are.”