Volume 48, Issue 1 - January 2013

Distribution&Production

Transportation Gets Closer to Normal
in Regions Hit by Sandy

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy last fall left many Northeastern glass businesses struggling to return to business as usual. For many that includes wondering if they’ll ever see relief from the search for commercial vehicles to replace those lost by the devastating storm.

“Being involved in Hurricane Sandy, and close to the damage, we did see a lot of glass companies go down, many of whom lost their vehicles and glass racks,” says Michael Frett, sales representative for MyGlassTruck.com. Frett says the Glassboro, N.J.-based transportation company was fortunate in having the eye of the storm pass over their facilities, and has turned instead to helping customers who call in seeking new vehicles.

“I have talked to and helped a handful of different customers since then about either replacing their current truck or helping them replace their damaged rack that might have gotten hit by something when the storm came through. But then, there are some customers who are still battling the insurance companies or just getting their checks for the damage now.”

As late as January, Frett said, potential customers were waiting on insurance checks to cover new vehicles to fill out their fleet.

According to John Barrows, vice president of communications for Avis Budget Group Inc., “[Car] availability remained tight through the annual spike that occurs over the Thanksgiving holiday, but availability has returned to normal now.” For commercial truck rental, however, the squeeze felt by companies following Hurricane Sandy was supplemented by the annual holiday demand. “This is a very busy season each year as many delivery companies supplement their private fleets with Budget Trucks for the holiday rush, so availability can be more limited than at other times of the year,” Barrows told USGlass in December 2012.

Matt Darrah, executive vice president of North American operations for Enterprise Holdings, parent of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, says that significant waiting lists remain in some communities where residents have requested replacements for their damaged vehicles. “Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the magnitude of the storm has simply outstripped our resources and manpower in some locations,” he adds.

A news release issued on November 16 by Governor Cuomo of New York noted that the state had been working closely with rental car companies to help relieve the demand for fleet trucks and consumer vehicles needed for business trying to return somewhat to normal. At the Governor’s direction, the Department of State facilitated the relocation of more than 17,000 cars and trucks to the New York metro area, replacing the inventory lost by the rental car locations as a result of the storm.

And although the memory of gas rationing that occurred in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy may last, the high prices at the pump seem to be easing, bringing glazing contractors one step closer to returning to a normal job routine.

A news release issued on December 14, 2012, by AAA Mid-Atlantic indicated that the cost of gas across New Jersey has continued to drop, although prices still remain higher than at the same time in 2011. As of December 3, 2012, AAA had reported that “The average price of gas in areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, including New Jersey, New York City and Long Island, have returned to pre-storm levels now that gas stations are receiving regular fuel shipments. Average gas prices have dropped 18 cents a gallon in New Jersey, 21 cents a gallon in New York City and 26 cents a gallon in Long Island from peak prices following the storm.”

“It definitely was an interesting experience as the issue with not enough gas was causing incredible long lines. At this point, [gas shortages] don’t have any effect anymore,” commented Raditia Lasry, purchasing agent for glazing contractor seele Inc. in New York City.
USG
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