Hurricane Harvey Update: Impact on Shipping

September 27, 2017

To our valued customers,

Hurricane Harvey made landfall south of Houston on Friday, August 25th. The Port of Houston resumed limited operations on the following Friday, September 1st. During the past three weeks the confusion and congestion from the port has been by far the worst I, or anyone I have spoken with, has ever seen (see pictures in pdf document below ). Computer failures, chassis shortages, misplaced containers and over bookings have led to historic lines and congestion in and around the ports. It currently can take five hours or more to get into either Bayport or Barbour's Cut to retrieve containers. This trip normally takes about an hour. Where a driver would make three to four trips in and out of the port prior to Harvey they are now making one to two trips per day. Port Dispatch warehouse is working 14 to 16 hours per day, 6 days per week in an effort to make progress on the backlog and keep up with incoming orders.

We are not working Sundays to allow our impacted employees to go home and continue repairing their homes and try to get some rest. We still have employees that are living with family or friends, because their homes are still uninhabitable and in some cases may be uninhabitable for months.

In my opinion, the port and the steamship lines are being completely unreasonable. Storage and per diem charges are mounting through no fault of ours. Some customers have been successful at achieving extensions while others have not. Extended hours and Saturday operations are needed desperately, but the port has only offered Saturday hours once.
I know it is easy to assume, especially since many of you are not located in Houston, that after three weeks things should be returning to normal. In fact, the Port of Houston and many areas of Houston are not close to normal for either businesses or individuals. We are outsourcing as much trucking as we can to try and process the backlog. Unfortunately, our outsourcing avenues are all experiencing the same problems and their ability to help is minimal.

I know that many of you are becoming frustrated, but I want to assure all of you that our team is doing everything possible. We value your business and take pride that our commitment to our customers is what differentiates us from our competition. Our employees are sacrificing valuable time that they could be using to repair their flooded homes to work 90 hours per week to take care of our customers. We are currently absorbing the wait times at the port and container terminals on your behalf. We simply cannot absorb the additional per diem and storage fees from the steamship lines that are beyond our control. You will be seeing per diem and storage fees from the steamship lines billed to you. Please contact us, so we can explain the additional charges and provide the appropriate information for you.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Gary Gardner


ERH Hawthorne, Port Dispatch and Port Dispatch Warehouse

View PDF document.


Long Lines at Port of Houston after Hurricane Harvey

Author: Gary Gardner
Phone: (800) 580-8399