Hurricane Ida Packs a Punch
Hurricane Ida packed a serious blow to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana where the majority of cane sugar in the US is grown. Rescue and recovery operations are underway and we hope that all affected will be safe during these challenging times.
The subsequent flooding and serious damage to the infrastructure is impacting the sugar harvesting, milling, refining and transport operations in Louisiana.
USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey said Louisiana accounts for nearly half of the sugar cane crop produced in the U.S. “Ida passed right through the core of southern Louisiana’s production area which extends inland as far as Baton Rouge.”
The storm hit just before sugar cane harvest is set to begin in September and Rippey fears there will be stalk lodging which makes harvesting difficult. He said saltwater impacts to coastal fields are also a concern. "That can have long-term impacts on areas and their ability to grow sugar cane due to the saltwater contamination,” Rippey noted.
Fortunately, pending dry and sunny weather, the sugar stalks may have time to recover before harvest.
The Millers and Refiners
According to Food Business News:
Two major sugar refineries in the New Orleans area were not operating as of Aug. 30. Storm teams still were assessing the situation at both refineries, according to company sources. Indications were both factories were without power.
Both refineries are major producers of refined cane sugar sourcing most of their raw sugar supply from Louisiana and Texas, with the ASR plant also utilizing some imported raw sugar. Combined, they produce more than 15% of the total US sugar supply (including carryover, domestic beet and cane sugar and imports).
The chart below shows the major cane and beet growing areas in the US.
The hurricane twisted and collapsed a giant tower that carries key transmission lines over the Mississippi River to the New Orleans area, causing widespread outages. The local power company reported that more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were out of service, along with 216 substations putting one million residents in the dark. Power will not be restored for weeks in some places.
At one point during the storm, 22 barges and a ferry were adrift, and the Mississippi river had reversed flow. The St. Bernard Port District offices will be closed until Sept. 6th according to their web-site.
On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard ordered no vessel movement on the lower Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to river mile 303. New Orleans is at river mile 100 and Baton Rouge is at 232.
We hope the lessons our government officials and business leaders learned from Katrina will expedite the recovery operations to keep the residents safe and their livelihoods restored.
Sugaright is Here To Help
As our refineries are located outside of the hurricane area, Sugaright is ready, willing, and able to supply liquid sugar loads if needed to keep your operations running.
Please contact us if you need assistance.