XTRA Lease News

Hurricane Preparedness: Having Trailers Ready

 

Hurricane season is upon the US, and logistics experts know hurricanes wreak havoc on several of America's best shipping lanes. From flooded streets to downed powerlines, hurricanes test our strategic planning ability to identify, address, and adapt to the constantly evolving challenges coastal locations face from June to November. With 30 years of experience concentrating on how to make trailers smarter, stronger, and more efficient, XTRA has gained some insights from our hurricane experiences. Our people on the ground share the following tips on how you can prepare your fleet for any on-coming storms.

 

9 Tips to Weather the Storm

 

1. Stay Informed and Monitor Weather Patterns

Monitoring reliable sources, such as the National Hurricane Center, is essential. Being proactive is always better than being reactive. Keep a close eye on developing storms so you can make timely decisions.

 

XTRA Lease 53' dry vans

2. Park Your Trailers Close Together

Trailers stored on an XTRA Lease's lots are often parked as close together as humanly possible. This reduces the likelihood of trailers tipping due to high winds.

 

3. Ensure Trailers Are Ready To Go

Your customers will appreciate you having trailers prepared and inspected before the storm hits. Emergency agencies, 3PLs, and others see demand for storage and freight explode during natural disasters. Whether moving merchandise and goods away from the storm or moving aid and disaster relief into the heart of the affected areas, trailers are in high demand. Maintaining a stock of ready-to-go trailers is vital for quick response times.

 

4. Be Fueled and Ready

Fuel availability is a critical concern during hurricanes. Ensure your vehicles and equipment are fully fueled before a storm hits. Remember to check all reefer fuel levels, as this is high demand equipment. Be sure to have backup fuel supplies to prevent operational shutdowns.

 

5. Outline Customer and Employee Communication Plans

Communication is the key when preparing for a hurricane. Communications with your team and customers – before and after – a storm must be easy to understand.

Keeping everyone informed with clear communications ensures coordinated efforts and enhances safety. Prepare phone lists and ensure each team member knows their role exactly. This allows your team to jump straight back into assisting customers and meeting demand when power or technology services might not be fully operational.

 

Truck driving through hurricane winds

6. Prepare for Power Outages

Have a generator and a plan to keep essential equipment running during power outages. In today's connected world, deploying hundreds of trailers without the aid of technology would be a daunting task. Your preparedness plan should always include a backup power solution. Meet demand head-on instead of waiting for outside solutions to get up and running.

 

7. Secure EVERYTHING

Anyone who has experienced a hurricane or high-wind event can tell you that the worst damage often comes from unsecured debris being picked up by the wind and slamming into stationary objects. Store loose materials inside or securely fasten them in place.

 

8. Prioritize Safety for Employees and Customers

Safety is paramount. People are transportation's most important asset, and we must prioritize their safety unequivocally. Once it is safe for employees to return, perform a thorough damage assessment of the yard, office, and equipment.

 

9. Lease Proactively

Trailers are often in high demand after a natural disaster. Having trailers secured well in advance can help avoid last-minute shortages. Plan ahead so you are not scrambling at the last minute. Find your branch to speak with our trailer experts.

 

 

Case Study: Meeting the Challenge During Hurricane Ike

 

In 2008, Hurricane Ike presented a significant challenge for XTRA Lease. Power outages were widespread, and there was a critical need for trailers to support emergency response efforts. XTRA Lease met the problem head-on with forward-thinking and a solid team effort.

 

The Problem

Hurricane Ike storm path

Hurricane Ike had been battering the Houston area for days with rain and high winds. With power down across large areas, there was a high demand for trailers to store and transport essential supplies like water and ice. However, without power and IT infrastructure, our XTRA Lease team needed to find a way to meet our customers' needs safely and efficiently.

 

How Our Team Set Themselves Up for Success

Our Houston team, led by Branch Manager, Chris Hilberth, was ready for the storm. Chris and his team made sure all trailers in our yard were customer-ready weeks before landfall. They communicated proactively with customers, urging them to secure equipment early. Chris made sure his whole team had offline access to their communication list, and that they had a plan ready for when the storm hit.

 

The Outcome: Delivery of 200 Trailers in One Day

Thanks to Houston's preparedness and efficient communication, XTRA Lease helped support critical recovery operations during Hurricane Ike. The ability to provide ready-to-go trailers ensured that essential supplies were transported and stored safely, demonstrating the importance of being well-prepared. In fact, the Houston branch set up a temporary network with the help of XTRA Lease's unequaled IT team to help Chris and his team deliver over 200 TRAILERS IN ONE DAY!

 

Conclusion

Hurricanes pose a serious disruption to our industry, but with proper preparation and a proactive approach, companies can mitigate their impact. We hope that by sharing what we have learned from our 30 years of trailer leasing, companies can enhance your hurricane preparedness and ensure continuity of operations even in the face of severe weather events.