How Companies Are Getting Ready for Hurricane Florence
(Bloomberg) -- Corporations are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence on the East Coast of the U.S. by shuttering factories and encouraging workers to keep their homes and families safe from the Category 3 storm.
The projected path may affect more than 4,000 manufacturing and distribution facilities in the Carolinas and Georgia, potentially hurting multiple sectors including auto-parts and packaged foods, according to Bloomberg Supply Chain data. Here are some of the latest developments:
Novartis Shuts Wilson, N.C., Site Until Monday
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG has closed its production site in Wilson, North Carolina, through Sunday and expects to resume operations on Monday. The drugmaker has already shifted some products out of the region to make sure supplies to patients are uninterrupted, the company said in a emailed statement. Novartis says it has about 2,700 employees in the path of the storm.
Chemours Shuts Fluoroproducts Plant
Chemours Co. will complete the closure of its Fayetteville Works site in North Carolina by Thursday evening. The plant makes fluoroproducts such as refrigerants and Teflon ingredients. Production lines are being cleared of chemicals and employees are tying down equipment and supplies. A ride-out team will shelter in place during the storm. Post-hurricane startup will commence once the chemical maker verifies safe operating conditions.
DowDuPont Shuts 2 More Plants (Wednesday)
DowDuPont Inc. is shutting a site in Charlotte, North Carolina, that makes coatings materials, as well as a silicones factory in Greensboro, North Carolina. Both plants are part of the Dow unit that’s scheduled to be spun off as an independent company early next year.
Earlier, the corporation said it is shutting three polymer factories, all of which are part of the DuPont unit.
DowDuPont Shuts 3 Polymer Plants (Wednesday)
DowDuPont Inc. is temporarily closing a site in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that makes Tedlar monomer and polymer; a plant in Kinston, North Carolina, that produces Sorona polymer, and a factory in Cooper River, South Carolina, that makes Hytrel resins.
William Prepares Transco Gas Line (Wednesday)
The Williams Cos. is “making necessary preparations” on its Transco natural-gas pipeline that runs through the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast ahead of the storm, a spokesman said in emailed statement. It’s preparing to compressor facilities remotely, stockpiling fuel, and testing generators for the system, which runs through 12 Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states.
CarMax Closing 4 Stores in Storm’s Path (Wednesday)
CarMax Inc., the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, is closing stores in Myrtle Beach and Charleston in South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; and Virginia Beach in Virginia. CarMax will assess whether other locations need to be closed for the safety of associates and customers, according to a statement.
CVS Closes Evacuation-Zone Pharmacies (Wednesday)
All CVS pharmacy locations in the mandatory evacuation areas in North Carolina and South Carolina are closed, according to the company’s blog. All other CVS Pharmacy locations remain open.
Smithfield Foods Shuts 2 Pork Plants (Tuesday)
Pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc.’s Tar Heel plant, with 4,440 employees, has the capacity to process 35,000 hogs a day. Its Clitnon facility can process 10,600 hogs, with 1,819 employees. Both will be closed Thursday and Friday, a spokeswoman said by email.
October hog futures fell 2.6 percent to 54.48 cents a pound on Tuesday. It was the contract’s first decline in seven trading days, breaking the longest winning streak since it debuted in May 2017.
J.C. Penney Closes 7 Stores in Carolinas (Tuesday)
J.C. Penney Co. closed four stores in South Carolina and three in North Carolina on Tuesday ahead of the storm. The company is among retailers including Ross Stores Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Burlington Stores Inc. and TJX Cos. that each have 6 percent to 7 percent of their total stores located in the Carolinas and Virginia, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Macy’s Inc. also said it plans store closures in areas affected by evacuation orders and curfews.
Nucor Suspends Work at 2 Steel Plants (Tuesday)
Nucor Corp.’s steel mills in Hertford County, North Carolina, and Berkeley County, South Carolina, will stop operating while Florence passes through the region, a spokeswoman said in an email.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based steelmaker doesn’t expect the suspension of operations to impact customer orders, spokeswoman Katherine Miller said.
Prices of coking coal, used by steelmakers, could climb to more than $200 a ton, from about $196 a ton today, as the hurricane disrupts port operations at Hampton Roads, Virginia, according to Clarksons Platou Securities. The storm threatens coal export facilities in the U.S., the supplier about 10 percent of the global market, the firm said.
AGildan Closes Distribution Center (Tuesday)
Gildan Activewear Inc., the Montreal-based maker of T-shirts and athletic apparel, closed its distribution center and offices in Charleston, South Carolina. “The facility itself is likely to not be impacted, but some of our employees would experience difficulties getting back to their homes given the altered transportation patterns and road closures,” Gildan said in an email.
The company also operates three distribution centers in North Carolina and five yarn-spinning facilities in North Carolina and Georgia. Gildan anticipates the storm won’t interrupt those facilities.
Pfizer Halting Work at Hospital-Drug Site (Tuesday)
Pfizer Inc. is suspending operations Thursday at two facilities in North Carolina, including a Rocky Mount plant that supplies hospitals with drugs from its sterile injectibles division, Hospira. That business has been under pressure due to product shortages. The New York-based drugmaker said it was working to ensure that the pharmaceutical supply wouldn’t be affected by the impending storm.
Erin Fox, an expert on drug-supply issues at the University of Utah, said any prolonged disruption in operations at Rocky Mount would worsen longstanding supply squeezes for such medications.
Cargill Idles Meat Plants as Ports Close (Tuesday)
Cargill, the agricultural giant and biggest closely held company in the U.S., will close meat-processing plants in South Carolina and Dayton, Virginia, on Sept. 14, spokeswoman April Nelson said in an emailed statement.
The Port of Norfolk, Virginia, Hampton Roads plans to close to all traffic starting at noon Sept. 12. The Port of Baltimore is already a step ahead, with no containers inbound or outbound at this time, Minneapolis-based Cargill said. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency.
Daimler Shuts Just-Opened Van Factory (Tuesday)
Daimler AG suspended operations at its new Mercedes-Benz van factory in South Carolina after Hurricane Florence prompted orders to evacuate areas in the path of the storm. The plant in North Charleston, which Daimler just opened last week, has been contracted to produce 20,000 Sprinter vans for Amazon.com Inc.’s package-delivery service.
“Mercedes-Benz Vans Charleston plant has suspended operations for Sept. 11 until further notice in anticipation of potential impacts from Hurricane Florence,” the company said in a statement. “We urge our team members, their families and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence to take this time to prepare and stay safe during the storm.”
Boeing Closes 787 Plant in S.C. (Monday)
Boeing Co. plans to shut its South Carolina operations, including a North Charleston plant where 787 Dreamliners are manufactured. Evacuations have been ordered for coastal areas and operations will resume “once it is safe to do so,” the planemaker said in an emailed statement.
Chicago-based Boeing said its leaders are monitoring the storm and working with state and federal officials.
Volvo Car Group Idles First U.S. Factory (Monday)
Volvo Car Group, the Swedish carmaker owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said Monday it idled operations starting Tuesday at its new plant near Charleston. The factory is its first in the U.S. and makes S60 midsize sedans. The decision was prompted by an evacuation order in place for Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties in South Carolina.
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