Corporations are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence on the East Coast of the U.S. by shuttering factories and encouraging workers to keep their homes and families safe from the Category 3 storm.
The projected path may affect more than 4,000 manufacturing and distribution facilities in the Carolinas and Georgia, potentially hurting multiple sectors including auto-parts and packaged foods, according to Bloomberg Supply Chain data.
Here are some of the latest developments:
Novartis Shuts Wilson, N.C., Site
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG has closed its production site in Wilson, N.C., through Sept. 16 and expects to resume operations on Sept.16. The drugmaker has already shifted some products out of the region to make sure supplies to patients are uninterrupted, the company said. Novartis says it has about 2,700 employees in the path of the storm.
Chemours Shuts Fluoroproducts Plant
Chemours Co. will complete the closure of its Fayetteville Works site in North Carolina by Sept. 13. The plant makes fluoroproducts such as refrigerants and Teflon ingredients. Production lines are being cleared of chemicals and employees are tying down equipment and supplies. A ride-out team will shelter in place during the storm. Post-hurricane startup will commence once the chemical maker verifies safe operating conditions.
DowDuPont Shuts 2 More Plants
DowDuPont Inc. is shutting a site in Charlotte, N.C., that makes coatings materials, as well as a silicones factory in Greensboro, N.C. Both plants are part of the Dow unit that’s scheduled to be spun off as an independent company early next year.
Earlier, the corporation said it is shutting three polymer factories, all of which are part of the DuPont unit.
DowDuPont Shuts 3 Polymer Plants
DowDuPont Inc. is temporarily closing a site in Fayetteville, N.C., that makes Tedlar monomer and polymer; a plant in Kinston, N.C., that produces Sorona polymer, and a factory in Cooper River, S.C., that makes Hytrel resins.
Smithfield Foods Shuts 2 Pork Plants
Pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc.’s Tar Heel plant, with 4,440 employees, has the capacity to process 35,000 hogs a day. Its Clinton facility can process 10,600 hogs, with 1,819 employees. Both will be closed Sept. 13 and 14, a spokeswoman said..
October hog futures fell 2.6% to 54.48 cents a pound on Sept. 11. It was the contract’s first decline in seven trading days, breaking the longest winning streak since it debuted in May 2017.
Nucor Suspends Work at 2 Steel Plants
Nucor Corp.’s steel mills in Hertford County, N.C., and Berkeley County, S.C., will stop operating while Florence passes through the region, a spokeswoman said..
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based steelmaker doesn’t expect the suspension of operations to impact customer orders, spokeswoman Katherine Miller said.
Prices of coking coal, used by steelmakers, could climb to more than $200 a ton, from about $196 a ton today, as the hurricane disrupts port operations at Hampton Roads, Virginia, according to Clarksons Platou Securities. The storm threatens coal export facilities in the U.S., the supplier about 10% of the global market, the firm said.
Pfizer Halting Work at Hospital-Drug Site
Pfizer Inc. is suspending operations on Sept. 13 at two facilities in North Carolina, including a Rocky Mount plant that supplies hospitals with drugs from its sterile injectibles division, Hospira. That business has been under pressure due to product shortages. The New York-based drugmaker said it was working to ensure that the pharmaceutical supply wouldn’t be affected by the impending storm.
Erin Fox, an expert on drug-supply issues at the University of Utah, said any prolonged disruption in operations at Rocky Mount would worsen longstanding supply squeezes for such medications.
Cargill Idles Meat Plants as Ports Close
Cargill, the agricultural giant and biggest closely held company in the U.S., will close meat-processing plants in South Carolina and Dayton, Virginia, on Sept. 14, spokeswoman April Nelson said..
The Port of Norfolk, Virginia, Hampton Roads plans to close to all traffic starting at noon Sept. 12. The Port of Baltimore is already a step ahead, with no containers inbound or outbound at this time, Minneapolis-based Cargill said. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency.
Daimler Shuts Just-Opened Van Factory
Daimler AG suspended operations at its new Mercedes-Benz van factory in South Carolina after Hurricane Florence prompted orders to evacuate areas in the path of the storm. The plant in North Charleston, which Daimler just opened last week, has been contracted to produce 20,000 Sprinter vans for Amazon.com Inc.’s package-delivery service.
“Mercedes-Benz Vans Charleston plant has suspended operations for Sept. 11 until further notice in anticipation of potential impacts from Hurricane Florence,” the company said in a statement. “We urge our team members, their families and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence to take this time to prepare and stay safe during the storm.”
Boeing Closes 787 Plant in S.C.
Boeing Co. plans to shut its South Carolina operations, including a North Charleston plant where 787 Dreamliners are manufactured. Evacuations have been ordered for coastal areas and operations will resume “once it is safe to do so,” the planemaker said in an emailed statement.
Chicago-based Boeing said its leaders are monitoring the storm and working with state and federal officials.
Volvo Car Group Idles First U.S. Factory
Volvo Car Group, the Swedish carmaker owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said on Sept. 10 that it idled operations starting Sept. 11 at its new plant near Charleston. The factory is its first in the U.S. and makes S60 midsize sedans. The decision was prompted by an evacuation order in place for Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties in South Carolina.