Photo: Port Houston

Photo: Port Houston

Chassis provider CIMC Intermodal Equipment is sending up to 600 40-foot gooseneck chassis to the Houston area this week as replacements for equipment damaged by Hurricane Harvey flooding.

The Port of Houston opened last Friday, but current chassis being operated in the Houston area to unload shipping containers could be out of service for weeks due to flood damage to electrical, brake, wheel-end and other components. Replacement parts to fix these chassis will likely be delayed for some time, as parts availability is expected to be curtailed.

CIMC IE has been receiving requests from intermodal fleets to help replace damaged chassis since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast last week, according to the company. The chassis being sent to Houston will be available to these operators at standard pricing, according to the company.

Port Houston late last week announced it was largely undamaged by Hurricane Harvey and would reopen Sept. 1. Strong currents in the area last week placed restrictions on vessel movements into the port; however, the Port Commission felt that it was important to restart operations as soon as possible.

Until floods completely recede, the Houston area will likely need some time to return to normal, and the storm's effects on transportation have been far-reaching.

“Employees are on site, facilities are back online, and we are ready to operate,” added Roger Guenther, Port Houston executive director. “We are restarting this economic engine again to power the region, state, and nation.”

Meanwhile, the effects of Harvey continue to be wide-reaching and the Southeast U.S. is bracing for potentially another record-setting storm.

In the latest pricing numbers from the Energy Department, average diesel fuel prices in the U.S. jumped over 15 cents last week to nearly $2.76 per gallon, its highest average price since July 2015. While the price increases were highest in the Gulf Coast and Lower Atlantic regions closest to the storm, prices increased by more than 10 cents per gallon in every major region except the Rocky Mountains.

Congress is expected to vote on a $7.9 billion aid package for Hurricane Harvey recovery as it ends its five-week recess, according to the Washington Post.

And hot on the heels of Hurricane Harvey is Hurricane Irma, which reached Category 5 strength on Tuesday, with sustained winds of up to 185 mph. It is currently one of the most powerful storms ever observed in the Atlantic and is expected to make landfall in Southern Florida by the end of the week. 

The storm could fluctuate in strength or change course before making landfall, but officials in the state of Florida have already ordered evacuations in preparation.