Houston truckers struggle with slow, soggy restart

Roads throughout Texas and the US Gulf Coast remain closed to traffic more than a week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

Trucking operators are putting rigs back on the road in Houston, but slow-to-recede floodwaters and road closures complicate efforts to restore service. Shippers moving goods through and to the fourth-largest US city can expect weeks if not months of delays and higher costs.

Shippers and all their transportation partners will need time to sort out the mess left along the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Harvey, which is already certain to be the most economically damaging storm since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More hurricanes, led by Irma, are on the way.

If Hurricane Irma, currently a Category 5 storm, hits Florida and Southeast US ports hard, it would be a one-two punch to shippers and supply chains that move goods from the Gulf Coast and Southeast coast inland to Dallas, Atlanta, and other markets in the American Heartland.

Houston has proved resilient, but its recovery is just beginning. Less-than-truckload terminals in the region began reopening during the Labor Day weekend, but they reported that progress is slow. Many customers still aren’t fully back on their feet, and the same is true of employees.

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