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High Winds Cause Container Chaos

Wednesday, 18th November 2009
As we enter the storm season depots, terminals, haulage companies and shipping lines dread the bad weather that late autumn and winter brings. High winds in particular cause huge disruption. Ports and depots will usually close when winds exceed 60mph, some will even close when winds exceed 50mph. The reason for this is that although containers may appear to be huge heavy steel boxes they are very susceptible to movement in winds. When stacked over 5 high, even on the most level concrete, whole stacks can be known to topple over in the wind. Also when removing units from stacks or travelling with a 40ft at height they can catch the wind easily and twist potentially damaging the mast and even turn a truck over. The nature of storms mean that although forecasts are improving, terminals and depots have to make the decision to close on the spot. This can mean that vehicles are left with containers on unable to be unloaded. The same in reverse for vehicles waiting to collect units for loading. Port operations area also affected, vessels will often be left to queue up away from the berth until the winds subside and the quay cranes are working again to load or unload them. The cost for this can be immense and most insurance companies shy away from claims relating to bad weather.

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