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Helping After Hurricane Harvey

It’s All About Coordination.

Hurricane Harvey

Harvey: Massive, Slow-Moving

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we’re now seeing unprecedented rain and flooding in southeast Texas. For the people affected—their homes, businesses, schools, and lives—our thoughts go out to them, and we wish them all the best for a safe and timely recovery from the disaster.

This country demonstrates it concern, both in good times and bad. Last year, American gave some $390 billion to charitable causes; that’s the third year in a row we reached a new level.

Individual contributions made up the majority of this giving: $282 billion (72% of donations). Foundations gave $59 billion (15%), and corporations gave $18.5 billion (5%). Of that, Human Services—including crisis services, food banks/distribution, and social services—received 12% of those donations.

Along with financial contributions, there is a need for logistics services, as the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has and will demonstrate.

For better and worse, established 3PLs have much experience with the urgency of coordinating movements of freight in and out of disaster recovery areas. As we described in a previous blog (almost exactly a year ago; it’s hurricane season), recovery operations require material goods and handling: food, clothing, and building materials trucked in; debris trucked out.

(NATCO has coordinated no less than 10 moves in the past 36 hours, including front end loaders for equipment—such as cars, trucks, and boats—to be recovered and moved out of the way.)

Time is of the essence. Lives—and livelihood—are at stake. Precise coordination and communication between shippers, drivers, dispatchers, 3PLs, and origin and destination contacts are essential.

Which is why we can all be grateful for coordinating agencies that are central to these efforts. While government agencies like FEMA will control a broad-stroke majority of rescue and recovery, many non-governmental organizations contribute to specifically-targeted logistics. Speed—and that’s speed with precision and smarts—is crucial here.

Our friends at Transportation Intermediaries Association partner with the ALAN, the American Logistics Aid Network, which engages industry to address such relief efforts for people, communities, and organizations.

ALAN also partners with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster as a clearinghouse for those essential supplies, goods, and services in response to disasters.

For example: as we write this, ALAN lists a number of logistics needs on its website, including: a refrigerated trailer in Houston, warehouse space in Victoria, and 15 pallets of tarps transported from North Carolina.

Also this: the FMCSA is waiving certain standard logistics restrictions for movements related to the recovery efforts.

Team NATCO hopes the coordination of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey goes as smoothly as possible. We’re honored to contribute.