Hurricane season — which runs from May 15 to Nov. 30 in the Pacific and June 1 to Nov. 30 in the Atlantic — can cause destruction of property, damage to customer cargo, personal injuries and loss of equipment. To ensure that terminals remain as productive as possible and customers’ freight is kept safe, there are necessary steps Saia follows during hurricane season, both to prepare for a potential storm and to handle a developing situation.
How Saia Prepares for Hurricanes
- Establishing internal protocols for each level of danger. Saia has implemented five categories that range from awareness that hurricane season is in effect to the presence of imminent destructive winds. Each condition presents different procedures to be followed.
- Monitoring weather patterns continually. Saia reviews approaching storms via the National Hurricane website, local news stations and weather channels. This information helps determine the window of opportunity to operate safely in the potentially impacted areas.
- Reviewing alternate routes and load plans. Saia monitors traffic flows through Department of Transportation websites and prepares to make adjustments to allow for the quickest recovery of service to impacted areas. Leadership also coordinates with regional management regarding the status of operations to determine if staff needs to be relocated.
- Planning for additional staffing. If an imminent hurricane requires cargo to be loaded onto trailers for shipment to the consignee or sent to safer locations, Saia ensures there is ample staff to maneuver those shipments.
- Identifying an evacuation route for trucks and trailers. To protect equipment and prevent costly damage and further delay from a potential storm, Saia moves tractors and trailers to another location.
How Saia Protects Freight Before a Hurricane
- Debris is disposed of, and bays, windows and entrances are secured.
- All hazardous materials are secured in a safe location or removed from the terminal.
- Updates on if and when operations will cease are communicated to staff.
- If a terminal is unable to handle billing and invoicing at its location due to a storm, another terminal will take over those tasks, to keep operations moving smoothly.
- Terminal employees ensure generators and propane tanks are full of fuel and the terminal is prepared to shut off the power, if necessary.
- Unreturned drivers are notified of any operational changes or facility closures.
How Saia Protects Freight During a Hurricane
- Customers are informed immediately of delays or other important information on a daily basis.
- The movement and path of the hurricane is monitored continuously to plan for next steps.
- Load plans and dispatch routes are adapted to accommodate movement of freight depending on the direction of the hurricane.
- Incoming calls from customers are transferred to another location for quick and efficient service.
How Saia Resumes Normal Operations Following a Hurricane
- The terminal is assessed for damage and necessary action is taken to mitigate any loss or damage to the facility or shipments.
- Should damage occur to a shipment, Saia is ready to coordinate and process claims as quickly as possible for customers.
- Once roads are cleared and safe, freight is quickly moved to its destination through additional run coverage.
- In order to recover from chaos and delay, all bill of ladings are re-checked for accuracy and processed as quickly as possible.
- Once in recovery mode, Saia continues to monitor effects, identify most critical duties and assign the appropriate personnel to handle and complete – working in conjunction with other departments as necessary.
There are many procedures that Saia has implemented to help keep freight safe and operations running smoothly during a hurricane. Through strategic planning and constant communication, Saia works to minimize disruption of service during hurricane season.
Visit Saia’s weather info page for current information on any delays and your local weather.