Earthquake in Mexico: Immediate Impacts on Logistics

Earthquake in Mexico: Immediate Impacts on Logistics

Executive Summary

  • On September 19, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused at least 225 casualties and severe, widespread damage to roads and buildings across Mexico City and surrounding cities.
  • Flights at Mexico City International Airport were reportedly briefly suspended on September 19 between 13:45 and 16:15 local time, but have since resumed.
  • Mexican ports have not sustained major structural damages, but ocean freight may be impacted due to disruption of communications systems and evacuation of port facilities.
  • Cargo operations at both airports and ports may remain impacted as full damage assessments are still being conducted throughout today and tomorrow, and until all power and communication lines have been fully restored.

Background

On September 19, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused severe, widespread damage to buildings across Mexico City and surrounding cities. At least 225 people have been killed, nearly half of them in the capital. In Morelos State, 71 people died, with hundreds of homes destroyed. In Puebla at least 43 died and 15,000 people in Downtown Puebla have been evacuated due to the threat of building collapses. Prior to the earthquake, Mexico was still reeling from a powerful tremor that killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country less than two weeks ago. At least 44 building collapses have been reported, with more damaged. Power outages have been reported for multiple areas, and sources claim that as of September 19, 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of Morelos State were without power. Large numbers of emergency personnel and civil volunteers are helping with rescue efforts and are searching for trapped victims. Multiple highways and local routes have suffered infrastructural damage, which is causing road disruptions throughout the city and region. A map of road and building damages can be access here: https://www.gob.mx/

Source: US Geological Survey via USA Today

Impacts on Logistics

Airports

Flights at Mexico City International Airport were reportedly briefly suspended on September 19 between 13:45 and 16:15 local time, but have since resumed, albeit at a slower pace. The closure was said to have affected 180 flights, which were planned to be rescheduled in the evening of September 19 or in the morning of September 20. Media sources said that cracks were discovered in the masonry of the Terminal 1 Control Tower, so that the operations are carried out from the Terminal 2 Control Tower, while the structure of the main tower was being reviewed. Other airports in Puebla and Cuernavaca reportedly remained open, after only suffering minor damages which did not impede operations. Customs offices in Mexico City as well as warehouses were closed on September 20, impacting cargo operations at the airport which were temporarily suspended.

Seaports

Mexican ports were said to not have sustained any major structural damages, but ocean freight may be impacted due to disruption of communications systems and evacuation of port facilities. As many trucking companies are headquartered in Mexico City, transport availability may be affected. A major highway between Mexico City and Acapulco, leading up to the port area, was said to be disrupted due to a bridge collapse.

Roads and rail lines

Due to the earthquake, a bridge has reportedly collapsed on the Mexico-Acapulco highway, in the direction of Acapulco, in the Cuernavaca-Chilpancingo section at kilometer mark 109, causing a closure of the highway. Detours are in place between kilometer 107 and 132. A bridge has reportedly also collapsed on the highway between Oaxtepec and Cuautla near Oaxtepec. Other damages were reported to be impacting highways on the border of Puebla-Oaxaca near Huajuapan, as well as on the Leon-Huajuapan highway between Huajuapan and Nochixtlan at kilometer 63 and 190. No reports of damages to cargo or passenger rail lines throughout the affected areas have been initially reported.

Power Outages

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has been able to restore power to over 90 percent of affected customers, reducing outages from their peak of 4.88 million people without power following the earthquake. In Puebla, the CFE has restored power to 99 percent of affected customers, while full power restoration has reportedly been reached in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Tlaxcala. According to reports, the most heavily impacted areas currently include:

  • Mexico City – Approximately 273,000 customers remain without power
  • State of Mexico – Approximately 89,000 without power
  • Morelos – More than 50,000 without power

Manufacturing Sites

Local media reported that automakers Volkswagen and Audi had initially suspended production operations at plants in Puebla following an earthquake that hit Mexico on September 19, but have since resumed production after respective damage assessments. At the VW plant in Puebla, only minor damages to the buildings were reported. In a statement, US-Italian auto manufacturer Fiat Chrysler stated that no structural damages occurred at the site in Toluca. No information was available on production sites of Nissan, Daimler and Ford, which also have plants in the vicinity of Mexico City. Media sources also reported that production at the Antonio Doval Jaime oil refinery in Salina Cruz remained suspended following an 8.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Mexico two weeks ago.

Outlook

Cargo operations at both airports and ports may remain impacted as full damage assessments are still being conducted throughout today and tomorrow, and until all power and communication lines have been restored. Customers are advised to expect delays to all air and ocean freight shipments over the next days. 11 aftershocks have been reported since September 19, and remain possible in the near future.

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