US CSX curtails rail service near New Orleans on hurricane

28 August 2012 18:26  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based CSX has curtailed rail service in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, in preparation of Hurricane Isaac, the company said on Tuesday.

Service will remained curtailed until the storm passes and tracks are inspected, repaired and reopened, according to a statement by Carla Groleau, CSX spokeswoman.

Customers with shipments scheduled to travel in or through the US Gulf coast region can expect delays of up to 72 hours, Groleau said.

Already, US-based chlor-alkali producer Olin has shut down its plant in McIntosh, Alabama, because rail service has been suspended.

Olin did not specify which company provided the service.

Meanwhile, CSX has resumed rail service in south Florida, Groleau said. However, customers should expect delays for the next 24 hours as a traffic backlog is cleared.

Isaac was recently upgraded to a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles/hour (121 km/hour), the National Hurricane Center said.

Isaac could make landfall near New Orleans by late on Tuesday or early Wednesday as Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane, said Eqecat, a company that provides consulting to insurance and financial companies about managing risk caused by catastrophes.

Under the rating system used for hurricanes, a Category 1 storm has wind speeds of up to 95 miles/hour. A Category 2 hurricane has wind speeds of up to 110 miles/hour.

So far, several companies have shut down petrochemical plants and refineries in preparation for Isaac.

If Hurricane Isaac makes landfall on Wednesday near New Orleans, it would do so on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Additional reporting by Ken Fountain

By: Al Greenwood
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