When the Colonial Pipeline got hacked everybody started running to fill up the tanks to get gas. Many felt the effects of it. With previously rising gas prices at the pump this hack and subsequent shut down not only exacerbated the situation but also makes us wonder whether or not we should have kept the Keystone Pipeline project. We especially need protection on these assets from future intrusions. Protection varies from cyber intrusions to physical damage.
Like any good plan we need back ups. We need pipe lines and bridges that are fully functional, in top working order and are protected. Speaking of bridges, the I-40 – An Arkansas bridge had a massive crack on one if it’s 900 foot horizontal steel beams. That beam is critical to the bridge’s structural integrity.
As a result the Interstate 40 bridge linking Arkansas and Tennessee had to be closed. Even though it’s been a couple of weeks the affects are still lingering today. The six lane bridge was shut down on Tuesday, May 11 after a critical steel beam showed a significant fracture. Even boats were not allowed to pass under it until Friday.
I guess we could say it’s a bridge over troubled water. Remember the song by Simon & Garfunkel – The Story Of Bridge Over Troubled Water Listen to this 11 minute clip – it’s very interesting on how it all got put together. It’s like building a bridge – piece by piece.
As a result of the bridge’s fracture, about 700 barges had to sit idle on the Mississippi river between that Tuesday and Friday before the river traffic was allowed to resume. Each day tens of thousands of trucks and commuters sit for over an hour in traffic due to the closure.
You can imagine the amount of trucks and vehicles that had to be rerouted from this major bridge closure. The Arkansas trucking association estimated the closure would cost the industry at least $2.4 million per day. Traffic had to be rerouted to Interstate 55 and to the Memphis-Arkansas bridge about 3 miles to the south. That bridge is 71 years old. It’s also known as the “old bridge” justly so.
The results of a hack on any pipeline are extraordinary. They range from economic and technological to political peril as we try to figure out how this happened. In the meantime as we deal with the effects on our infrastructure we need to remember that gas lines could be a problem in the future affecting shipping.
This pending shipping nightmare is a combination of many events from rocket attacks in Israel causing instability in the Middle East to children still not all back in school due to the pandemic. Combine this with panic buying at the pumps causing gas lines, inflation and a border crisis and what do you get? You get a shipping mess or as I’ve written in previous articles Ship Happens.
Stay well and be careful and alert as we finish the Memorial Day Holiday. We are thankful for those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
If you need help, then contact us and we’ll help you with the shipping challenges.