Hurricane Ida has swept across many Gulf Coast states, hitting areas like southeast Louisiana particularly hard and leaving a path of destruction, displacements and power outages in its wake. Storms continue to hit the southern states, and now many are anticipating subsequent flash flooding, as well as ongoing storms.
All of this is having a serious impact on the automotive supply chain and various players in the industry – regardless of whether those players are looking to buy or sell vehicles, rent out cars, transport vehicle inventory or use fleet units to conduct another form of business. Additionally, all these storm-related challenges add even further supply chain disruptions to an already-burdened auto industry grappling with ongoing coronavirus-pandemic concerns, strained carrier capacity, high fuel prices and widespread semiconductor chip shortage.
ACERTUS’ teams take these new severe-weather challenges seriously. These teams are closely monitoring the situation on the ground, providing regular updates to its carriers, drivers and customers and working to provide around-the-clock service to all involved. As a direct result of Hurricane Ida and ongoing storms along the Gulf, there are a few key areas where ACERTUS has identified major needs facing companies, as well as ways in which ACERTUS can step in as a logistics provider and help at this time.
The Need to Reposition Inventory
Perhaps one of the most crucial needs companies are facing at this time is the need to reposition inventory, moving it out of harm’s way and into safety. To prevent damage, many retailers and rental car companies are looking to transport vehicle inventory off their lots and into locations with more coverage from the storm’s many impacts. Fleet-management companies, automakers and other companies with fleets are also looking to move many of their units offsite and into more secure locations, away from the areas being hardest hit.
Once storms and precarious weather conditions have moved on, logistics providers can then help companies – vehicle retailers in particular – replace their inventory and restock their lots again.
Preparation for Flash Flooding and Future Storms
Beyond just reacting to what is already happening on the ground in these storm-hit areas along the Gulf Coast, companies must be preparing for any flash flooding that will occur as a result of these storms, as well as for any future hurricanes, tropical storms or severe weather that might take place.
Many times, companies that have most of their vehicle inventory in low areas must start moving their vehicles to higher ground for risk mitigation, largely avoiding associated with flash floods. Many businesses will want extra protection for their vehicles, looking to transport inventory into more secure storage sites where vehicles can be monitored and held in insurance-covered facilities until they are ready to retrieve them.
Anticipation of Fuel Increases
Because so many refineries the southern United States, particularly along this coastal area, many in the automotive industry are anticipating significantly higher fuel-price increases in days and weeks to come – even higher than what North America has seen in recent months. Such increases won’t just hit the storm-impacted states, however; these price hikes will impact states across the country.
Companies that regularly transport vehicles will want to take rising fuel costs into consideration as they make plans for the near future and account for various expenses impacting their respective businesses. In some cases, dealerships, rental companies and other companies may decide there is more value and overall cost savings in outsourcing services like car haul or drive away to a logistics provider than taking on all those costs and resource-intensive operations themselves.
ACERTUS’ SMART Plan
ACERTUS employs a Storm Management And Response Tactics (SMART) Plan to help companies and protect their assets during times when they face hurricanes and extreme storm impacts.
Namely, through this SMART Plan program, companies that partner with ACERTUS on vehicle-transport, storage or other logistics services gain access to real-time storm monitoring and tracking, in-transit vehicle re-routing, a regularly updated list of any vehicles that could potentially be in the path of impending storms, around-the-clock access to SMART Plan personnel, driver and resource staging at safe-haven locations and even relocations and bunkering of vehicles as needed, so they’re moved out of a storm’s path and into hardened facilities.
The goal of ACERTUS’ SMART Plan and its many features is to help companies reduce their risk of storm damage, increase control of vehicle inventory, allow for a quick response to recovery of storm damage and provide companies with access to online Condition Reporting, digital photos and regular vehicle updates.
Ultimately, ACERTUS is a full-range vehicle-logistics company that can assist companies with not just vehicle transports, but also services like storage options, reconditioning and care and maintenance and more – all to help these automotive players navigate hurricane and severe-storm weather, keep their inventory protected and ensure they can continue to conduct business and meet their own customers’ needs.