Hurricanes: Economic Impact on the Trucking Industry

Hurricanes Economic Impact

Each year, the period between June and November marks the official Atlantic hurricane season, leaving residents of the east and Gulf coasts on high alert. But when a hurricane makes landfall, the effects of the storm go far beyond the areas in the direct path.

Most recently, hurricanes Florence and Michael have pummeled the United States, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. These storms, and others like them, affect the trucking industry, not just in the aftermath, but in the days leading up to and during landfall as well.

Before a Hurricane Hits

Meteorologists keep a close eye on hurricane activity in the Atlantic and they are able to give updates on the projected path of landfall in the days leading up to a storm.

During this time, there is typically an increase in trucking activity, as cities prepare for the storm. Materials to help with preparation may be brought in to areas expecting to get the worst of the storm, or companies may adjust their routes to get out of the areas in the path before the storm hits.

During a Hurricane

When a hurricane comes ashore, truck routes through the affected areas, such as from Florida to the northeast, can be disrupted. Areas closest to the coast are often evacuated and emergency responders may be the only vehicles allowed in the area.

After a Hurricane Has Passed

Once the storm rolls through and the damage is done, recovery and rebuilding efforts begin. This leads to an increase in construction and trucking activity, as dump trucks haul away debris or bring supplies to help repair damaged houses. According to DAT, as roads reopen and supplies are moved in there may be rate increases after a hurricane.

You may also notice that in the months after a major storm there is a greater need for materials like truck tarps, as they wear out faster and need to be replaced more frequently due to increased use.

Local Economic Impact

The Wall Street Journal recently did an analysis on how hurricanes can impact local economies.

The article states, “Studies show that business might slow down during and immediately after storms hit. Restaurants and clothing stores lost foot traffic on the Atlantic coast after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, according to a Federal Reserve study. However, before long, rebuilding and restocking starts, leading to car purchases and construction that boost economic activity to replace property that was wiped out.”

During rebuilding periods, cities may also notice a surge in economic activity in retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores. Overall, the economic impact from a hurricane seems to even out over time.

Read the full article from the Wall Street Journal.