Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

Customer Advisory on Hurricane Harvey

risk_managementAs the unprecedented flooding and impact from Hurricane Harvey continues to be felt throughout Houston, SE Texas, and into Louisiana, the extent of the damage and cleanup efforts needed is becoming more clear. Our thoughts are with the thousands of people who have been impacted by this crisis situation. As suspected, the storm is also having a significant impact on supply chains across North America.

We recognize that shippers likely have many questions about how this weather event is impacting their supply chain today and in the coming months. Our team and technology are ready to work with customers to prioritize shipments and find alternative solutions throughout this crisis. To keep you informed, the following information is the latest we are hearing from the Houston area. Please reach out to your TMC account manager if you have additional questions.

Overall Market & Weather Update

The reach of the flooding has expanded beyond Houston. Texas DOT is reporting road closures nearing Austin and San Antonio.  With the weather moving to the east, the Louisiana DOT is also reporting road closures near Lake Charles and the surrounding areas. As you look for locations to stage shipments, note that a growing area of SE Texas continues to be affected and road closures are occurring quickly.

Transportation Update by Mode

Throughout this week, shippers can expect significant delays for pick-up and delivery as well as possible rerouting. In addition, fuel surges are likely and will impact transportation costs.

Intermodal / Rail Operations

  • Overall, ramps continue to be closed and may begin reopening Friday, September 1; rail companies are beginning to evaluate the damage as the week progresses. Movements may still be delayed beyond Friday.
  • Some Mexico cross-border rail lines continue to be closed (KCSM/BNSF) – an embargo has been enacted. These rail lines are anticipated to remain closed through the end of the week. 

Less-than-Truckload (LTL)

  • Wide-scale LTL terminal closures will continue to impact the region at least through Friday, September 1. We understand that LTL terminals in Louisiana are also closing or are beginning to have limited service due to the storm.  Note that some terminals in the Houston area are operating under very limited operations and focusing on relief efforts first.
  • Embargoes have been enacted and may impact your freight.


  • Shipments continue to be diverted, refused or returned to shippers throughout the region.
  • Truckload capacity is expected to be constrained for a significant period of time as assets are being prioritized to support relief efforts.

Ocean and Air

  • The Port of Houston and the HOU and IAH airports are all closed. The airports are evaluating options on a day-to-day basis and anticipate possibly opening for passengers today. Operations for freight cargo will remain closed until further notice.
  • With Houston Port closed, there will continue to be no traffic moving through the shipping channels until at least Friday. The Coast Guard will make the final determination on when the channels will open.
  • Note that when the channels and port open, cargo destined for other ports may be unloaded in Houston.
  • Once opened, container vessels will have priority above other vessels. Of this, export vessels will get priority to load and sail out first. Any vessels currently berthed at the terminals will be worked first.

We understand this situation continues to evolve. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your account team.