Irma will not disrupt supplies to Cayman

| 08/09/2017 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

Hurricane Irma tracking map, 5am Friday

(CNS): If deadly superstorm Irma continues on its projected track, it will pass as a category 4 hurricane directly over South Florida and could cause severe damage to Miami, which is the main hub for goods heading to the Cayman Islands. However, residents here do not have to worry about shortages of medication, groceries or fuel, as managers of the various entities in Cayman say they are well stocked and well prepared for contingencies.According to Lizzette Yearwood, CEO of the Health Services Authority, the HSA’s “comprehensive emergency preparedness plan includes contingency planning for a range of natural disasters and other emergency events to ensure continuity of operations in the event of a situation such as Hurricane Irma’s potential impact on our vendor supply chain”.

She said the authority had established contingency arrangements with suppliers outside South Florida — in other parts of the US, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean — so that essential supplies like blood products, medicines, dietary and other items would continue if there’s a long-term impact from Hurricane Irma on South Florida.

She also noted that the HSA has a long-established policy of maintaining a minimum three months’ stock of all critical supplies, including medications, dietary, housekeeping and other items used in the hospital. “This is essential to maintaining patient care and operations at optimal levels, regardless of external events.”

The main grocery stores also have contingency plans. Randy Merren, managing director of Hurley’s Supermarket, said that if the Miami port were left inaccessible they would have to ship from Tampa, but “that would be call for the local shipping companies”. He said the store’s main supplier is not located in a flood zone, “but in the event it is damaged to the point they can’t supply their customers out of the Miami facility, they would have to look at supplying us through their other warehouse in Ocala, Florida”.

Woody Foster, owner of Foster’s Food Fair-IGA, noted that Florida has ports in Miami, Port Everglades, Riviera Beach, Tampa and Jacksonville, so there are options.

“If there is catastrophic damage there will be logistical implications that may delay shipments, but not long term,” he said, a point echoed by Kirk Supermarket GM Thom Guyton, who said they could “re-route supplies to wherever the shipping lines base their Cayman operations out of”.

As far as fuel supplies, Cayman is in a good position. Rubis Operations Manager Dustin Kersey said that they had just finished discharging a vessel for their Cayman operation and all their storage capacity is full. And Dalkeith Ebanks, who manages Rubis on Cayman Brac, said they had enough fuel to last on that island for six months.

Over at their competitor, Sol, general manager Alan Neesome said they had multiple fuel supply options for Cayman besides the US Gulf Coast locations, which provide supply reliability to Cayman. “Our next vessel loaded in Louisiana last week and was unaffected by Harvey but as a back-up we have another vessel due to load in St Lucia in the next few days which is unaffected by Irma,” he added.

But while Irma will not bring gas shortages in Cayman, the impact of Hurricane Harvey may be felt in the prices.

“Following Harvey, most of the affected refineries and pipelines are still in the process of returning to full operational capacity,” Kersey said, noting that supply price indexes have already increased, not just on the  Gulf Coast but internationally, since Harvey made landfall. “It is likely that the current situation will have a short-term impact on gas prices in Cayman, as local fuel prices are based on the supply price index at the time of  loading each vessel.”

According to Neesome, “Daily international fuel pricing is subject to complex global market forces, which also include regional factors such as hurricanes, so there can be large price variations (up and down) from one day to the next. These price changes are unpredictable and fuel suppliers cannot schedule cargo deliveries based on price.

“Sol schedules cargo deliveries several months in advance to ensure security of supplies to Grand Cayman and to avoid stock outs at the power generating company, commercial customers and the retail service stations,” he added.

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Category: Local News, Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Whilst there have been some unfortunate fear mongering messages sent around over the last few days, the benefit of it is that some people may have actually been spurred into action to stock up on supplies, which is something we all should do during hurricane season. Since we have not had any major weather related issues since Ivan, it is likely that too many people have already become complacent again.

  2. Anonymous says:

    But, it will disrupt cruise ships.

    I held off from making this post for nearly a week. Because it was more important to focus on safety in the face of this devastating beast of a storm. I am so sorry for our Caribbean family in the north, but now it looks like Florida has dodged a bullet. So…

    What the heck Port Authority?! Can you not update your website? Really the Carnival Glory will be here tomorrow? Just how lazy and inept are you? You only add ships, not remove them? You know stay over tourists do not like to come to town when ships are in. We lost 40% of our ships with Harvey, can you please just get off your backside and do your job!

    • Anonymous says:

      According to our excellent, and highly competent government and Port Authority we have ships tomorrow as well! No problem that almost all Florida originating cruise have been cancelled from last week! Omg how can a ship that never made it back to Florida because of the storm be here today. Lazy, lazy inept people.

      • Anonymous says:

        True, true, according to our highly competent government we have four, count ‘me, four cruise ships tomorrow! No worries that the port of Miami just reopened today, and all of ships are cancelled except the Breeze. Port Authority website is not just useless, it is detrimental to local businesses. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s only early September. While we dodged Irma we may not dodge the next bowling ball.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not a very accurate headline CNS “Irma will not disrupt supplies to Cayman” Of course hurricane Irma will disrupt supplies to Cayman, Cayman has other plans for supplies to enter the country but they and all supplies will be “disrupted”

  5. Rp says:

    In cases of shortage wouldn’t the us companies focus on Florida? Looks like all ports are in Florida. If storm hits down the middle all ports will be affected. mind you that there are not many roads up and down the pan handle. Most rely on I95. In Houston it took more than a week to open the airport to limited travel after Harvey.

    One thing is for sure, there won’t be many veggies in the store. If they fly them in, the price would be astronomical.

    One thing is for sure, this storm will test our food companies contingency plans and reveal the level of dependence on Florida.

    Let’s hope the storm misses and spares the millions of people in its path.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love it! All the excitement of a hurricane, with none of the weather. Plus, we still have refrigerators!

  7. Unison says:

    I received a phone message yesterday. It read:

    “Advisory notice:

    The Port of Miami, in Miami, FL., will be closed as of tomorrow. Cayman Islands residents are encouraged to stock up on non perishable items, meat and consumables as there will likely be food shortages coming from the United States.

    Port Authority Cayman Islands will also close as of tonight. The last boat will be in tonight.”

    I understand now this was a false message. You had people storming into Kirks, Fosters over this message. They were making big monies last night :/

    • Anonymous says:

      There are sickos out there prepared to make money by stirring up fear…they need a visit from the Grim Reaper.

      • Dreadful warrior says:

        That’s almost everyone earning a living. They deliver fear or soak it up. Your choice…

  8. Frank Miller says:

    Daddy Frank sending love to his friends on Cayman Brac…..Rodney Tyrone

  9. Anonymous says:

    You can always YouTube, “How to make your own bread”.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I wish disgusting individuals such as the editor of ‘The Marl Road’ on Facebook would be supportive in difficult times instead of spreading fear-mongering rumours which excite people to panic buy.

    • Anonymous says:

      The marl road is a joke! Nothing but fear mongering and gossip lies!

    • Anonymous says:

      To call a media outlet “Mark Road” speaks volumes about the creator and owner. Ask a real Caymanian where the term originated and what it means.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Enjoy the weather, if anything bad happens atleast everyone will forget about your rap sheet for a bit.

  12. Sharkey says:

    Where do Cayman Islands get the fuels from ? Then were those countries effected by Irma or Harvey ? If not , why should Cayman Islands fuels prices go up ? Cayman Oil Companies can you answer those questions .

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read the article?? Almost half of it was talking about fuel, where it comes from, and how Hurricane Harvey will possibly affect pricing. As they say, RTFA.

      • Sharkey says:

        Anonymous 12:50pm, I have read the article , but what you see into what you read is not the same . I read that Cayman Brac had enough fuel to last the next 6 months . What size storage tanks does the Brac have ?
        Do you believe that the Brac have that much fuel suply on hand 6 months ?

        I know and believe that you and everyone else on the Island can ready to pay high price for gas for no reason .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Blame Hurricane season for cost of living in Cayman.

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