SHELLEY, Idaho-About 90 percent of Kevin Searle's business at GPOD of Idaho consists of shipping Russet Burbank potatoes to the East Coast, mostly by rail.
As the busy holiday shipping season ramps up, Searle, general manager of GPOD, is coping with delays caused nearly 2,000 miles away from his Shelley fresh packing facility by Hurricane Sandy.
It's common for GPOD to ship as many as seven rail cars of potatoes per day to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and other areas hard-hit by Sandy. It takes 10 to 12 days for his rail shipments to reach their destinations, so Searle anticipates at least two weeks of shipments, dating back to Oct. 22, will be delayed.
"We're in a deadline time window for arrivals for the Thanksgiving holiday, and some of these cars are backed up in yards for logistical problems dealing with what the hurricane has done," Searle said.
Customers may be overwhelmed and cancel future orders if shipments back up and arrive all at once.
"It will affect business, not just for our company but Idaho in general," Searle said. "It's not an overnight fix. It's a drawn-out deal to get back to business as normal."
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press