Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurricane strands Chrysler shipment

Key shipping hub closed for at least a day
Stephen Downer
Automotive News
August 22, 2007 - 1:40 pm EST

MEXICO CITY -- A ship loaded with 852 Chrysler-brand vehicles bound for Tampa, Fla., and Newark, N.J., was stranded today in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, as Hurricane Dean pounded Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Victor Camacho, chief of operations of the Altamaritima shipping agency in Veracruz, said the ship, the Philippines-registered Eurasian Brilliance, should have sailed for the United States on Tuesday, Aug. 21, but would try to leave the port Thursday, Aug. 23.

A spokesman for Antonio Burgueno, the port’s captain, told Automotive News that the port, which closed Tuesday to all shipping at 9:19 p.m. local time (10:19 p.m. EDT), may not reopen until Friday, Aug. 24.

“It could be out by tomorrow morning,” Camacho said today, referring to the ship, which has a Filipino crew of 25. “It should have left last evening.”

Camacho said the 26,700-ton ship still might take on about 500 Nissan-brand vehicles before sailing.

Altamaritima handles about two ships of light vehicles a month.

Chrysler had no immediate comment on the situation.

Beyond delaying the Chrysler shipment, the hurricane has not disrupted Mexican auto production or parts making.

The storm was carrying winds near 80 mph at 5 a.m. EDT. While the National Hurricane Center said Dean could intensify before hitting land again today, “Re-intensification may be slower than previously thought.” It appeared it would remain a Category 1 storm with winds below 95 mph.

The storm was due to make landfall north of Veracruz. The Mexican government extended a hurricane warning northward along the Gulf Coast to La Cruz, the hurricane center said, adding that Dean should weaken again after landfall and dissipate within 48 hours after that.

Reuters contributed to this report

No comments: