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Adverse Weather Conditions Impact on Shipping?!

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

So as I'm sat at the desk in my apartment, to what normally overlooks the majestic New York City skyline, I see nothing but a blanket of white skies. All that's visible are the washed out embers of the streetlights below. Witnessing the first snow storm of New Jersey's winter season spurred me to put pen to paper...or fingers to keyboard (2020 edition).

snow in NY

(Image by Shutterstock)

Have you ever wondered how snow storms or other inclement weather can have a huge impact on the shipping and logistics industry? Probably a little, right? Well maybe this post will teach you just one thing you perhaps didn't know. If so, I will have achieved my goal.

As humans, we have invented an unbelievably sophisticated network to get any commodity from A to B as quickly as possible. The exquisite number of moving pieces that are finely connected is almost too difficult to fathom when you really sit down and think about it. Let's put a pin in that one for a future post.

It's a fairly simple concept to understand how adverse weather conditions can affect a plane or truck with blocked roads or frozen runways to name a few. These unfavorable circumstances certainly impact the timeline of freight delivery, however, they aren't as substantial as some of the delays caused within other sectors of our colossal logistics jigsaw puzzle.

Snow in a Airport

(Image by The Independent)

Ocean shipping is a far bigger animal. The delaying of a plane or truck can be corrected fairly quickly and efficiently. With planes landing every 30 seconds, it is a far more fluid system compared to large container ships that are in transit for as long as 30 days plus loading/unloading times. The ocean is a vast expansive area but it's still the ocean with many restrictions. Container ships are confined to specific shipping lanes according to channel depths and designated courses.

Periods of high rain or drought conditions affect ocean freight tremendously. When sea levels rise and fall it changes the size and weight restrictions on channels and under waterway bridges. Low water levels prevent the movement of barges and make certain lanes less accessible. High water levels can be caused by off-shore tropical storms and result in closure of shipping channels completely.

Container Ships

(Image by NowThat'sLogistics)

The Gulf Coast contains seven of the United States’ ten largest ports, with 56% of all oil imported to the US arriving via these ports. Should severe storms cause closures or significant delays in and around those ports, it’s easy to see how substantial the impact could be economically.

If caught within one of these storms, extreme winds can displace containers overboard to be lost in David Jones' Locker forever (sorry, big Pirates of The Caribbean fan). This is why container insurance is absolutely essential!

Here at Drop-Ship Packaging, we insure all of our container shipments no questions asked. A lot of companies provide quotes FOB (Free on Board) and ignore insurance completely. This places all of the liability on the buyer which is extremely risky, especially if the buyer is not well versed in importing product.

We provide our quotes CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight). Container insurance costs around 0.25% of the shipments total value which in our eyes is a no brainer! When quoting projects, we don't even build this fee into our costs because that's what makes us different. The price we quote is the price our customers pay. There are no hidden fees. No additional costs. Just one fully inclusive price.

Well, I took a little tangent towards the end, but I think it added some beneficial context. Hopefully, it highlighted how we work to safeguard our customers from adverse conditions as best we can by providing them with the security and protection of shippers insurance.

Thanks for reading!

Stay Tuned. Stay Safe.

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