Automotive Fleet

OCT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Page 65 of 81

DEVASTATING IMPACT ON FLEE T OPERATIONS In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed or damaged approximately 2,000 feet vehicles in the Gulf Coast. Last October, Hurricane Sandy disrupted the refueling infrastructure and feet communication with drivers in N.J and N.Y. BY MIKE ANTICH H urricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, which were respectively the No. 1 and No. 2 most costly storms to ever hit the U.S., demonstrated the destructive impact that Mother Nature can have on feet operations, especially those without natural disaster contingency plans. Hurricane Sandy lef more than 8 million homes and businesses in the Northeast without electricity and killed 286 people. Counting damaged consumer and feet vehicles, the total unit loss has been estimated to be approximately 266,000 vehicles. While the number of feet vehicles destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy varied by company, no individual feet suffered a substantial loss of vehicles. However, while feet vehicle losses were minimal, on a per-company basis, the feet impact was widespread and cumulative. For instance, Novo Nordisk lost four vehicles, Mondelēz lost one vehicle, Teva Pharmaceuticals had three fooded vehicles declared total losses, Honeywell had one food-damaged vehicle, along with many more company losses. While these examples are a sampling of corporate losses, they are representative of the storm's widespread impact on individual feet operations. Also, feet deliveries in the storm-afected areas were severely impeded. Many dealerships closed due to fooding and power outages, railcar deliveries were delayed, and over-the-road transport companies stopped delivery of new vehicles until road conditions improved. However, Hurricane Sandy's biggest impact on feet operations was the disruption of the refueling infrastructure in the stormafected areas. Flooding and the loss of electricity closed many fuel stations for days, 60 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I OCTOBER 2013 The widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina made it diffcult for feets to get back to business. PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/JOEYNICK some as far west as Pennsylvania. Tose fueling stations that were able to remain open experienced long lines of desperate motorists waiting hours to refuel their vehicles. Most feet managers were proactive and instructed feet drivers to fuel up prior to Sandy making landfall and advised employees to limit driving afer the storm to prolong the time before their next refueling. Some larger feets, such as UPS, which did not lose any vehicles in the storm, have onsite fueling and fuel storage tanks, which became operational once electrical power was resumed. Other feets, such as Safelite AutoGlass, received a waiver from the state of New Jersey to allow it to provide remote fueling. One unnerving aspect of Hurricane Sandy was that many feet managers had drivers "missing in action," who couldn't be reached on their cell phones nor had called supervisors to report their status following the storm. Altogether, the automotive OEMs re- ported approximately 16,000 brand-new vehicles had to be scrapped due to food damage. Te losses could have been higher, but many dealers moved vehicles away from coastal areas ahead of Hurricane Sandy's arrival. Most of the damaged vehicles were being stored at the port of Newark, N.J., awaiting shipment to dealers, when Sandy hit. For instance, Nissan scrapped 6,000 new cars and trucks, the most of any automaker. Toyota was next with approximately 4,825 vehicles damaged, most of which were scrapped. The Fury of Hurricane Katrina Te impact of Hurricane Sandy pales in comparison to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall Aug. 29, 2005. Tere were approximately 20,000 commercial feet vehicles in the Gulf Coast at the time, with as many as 2,000 of them destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent fooding from the breached levees in New Orleans. A substantial num-

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