Kickstart: Ida continues to swamp US as Gulf Coast awaits recovery

As the remnants of Hurricane Ida continue to hit the U.S. far from the Gulf Coast — with record flash floods in New York and tornadoes in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey and flash flood warnings issued for Massachusetts today — Plastics News is continuing to track how much of an impact Ida will have on resin markets and the extent of damage. Here are a few items we’re following at PN:• update on its website that there is no apparent major damage to its Louisiana sites. However, it must wait for power and other utilities to be restored before restarting operations.Its Plaquemine site likely will reopen next week, Dow said, but “due to lack of functioning infrastructure in St. Charles Parish, it is too soon to predict operations startup timing for our St. Charles Operations facility.””In the near term, we expect product and supply chain impacts across the industry to further tighten already constrained supply balances in our key value chains. We remain in close contact with our customers and all our stakeholders as the situation continues to evolve,” Dow added.It has also sent trailers to St. Charles to house workers whose homes were damaged.• Processors well beyond the Gulf Coast expect to to come up. Some business owners thousands of miles away from Louisiana said their customers are already asking if product deliveries will be delayed.• Rail company Norfolk Southern said Sept. 1 that because trains are being diverted from a key terminal in New Orleans, deliveries in the region may be delayed for up to 72 hours. Norfolk said it is working to reroute rail traffic.• In one sure sign that residential recovery is underway, blue tarps are being distributed to homeowners with roofs damaged by Ida throughout Louisiana, including St. Bernard Parish, just south of New Orleans. Parish leaders have set up a distribution center.And, if you haven’t seen it yet, click through to this video of parish employees that was wedged into the branches of a tree by floodwaters.You don’t need me to tell you that it’s hard to fill job openings. Next week’s print issue of Plastics News will have a special report on CEOs, with comments from many of them about the difficulty of finding workers.One rotomolder says he’s missing out on several million dollars worth of business because he can’t find people to man machines.Perc Pineda, chief economist for the Plastics Industry Association, says businesses should expect to factor in about 3.1 percent higher employment costs for 2021. (More details coming out soon on that.)Which brings me to a couple of interesting items related to workforce I’ve run across the past few days.Online retail giant Amazon is preparing to open two fulfillment centers in suburban Chicago this month. To fill its 6,000 jobs, it is offering a base pay of $16 per hour plus health insurance, paid maternity leave and a 401(k) plan. But that may not be enough.”It’s definitely challenging hiring to that scale,” Tarun Aggarwal, general manager of one of the sites, Crain’s Chicago Business.And if that doesn’t get your attention, how about this news from Crain’s Cleveland Business: Welding equipment maker in a hiring bonus to fill 80-90 openings at two Ohio facilities.So you can expect that the competition for workers isn’t going to ease up anytime soon. Are you planning on business travel in the next few months? According to a survey of 48 businesses by Bloomberg, you may be in the minority.The survey of business leaders in the U.S., Europe and Asia said 84 percent of executives plan to spend less on travel. The Global Business Travel Association says spending on corporate trips could fall to $1.24 trillion by 2024 vs. $1.43 trillion in 2019, .The new way of doing business first embraced because of COVID-19 restrictions also has the benefit of helping companies meet sustainability goals by reducing their carbon footprint. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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