Heavy snowfall disrupts milling logistics

Snowfall of two to three feet on Jan. 22 and 23 brought weekend and early-week havoc to transportation and business operations, including flour mills, across much of Pennsylvania and parts of Virginia and New Jersey as well as in the Washington, D.C., area, including Baltimore.

Most flour mills in the region appeared to have resumed operations by Monday, Jan. 25, although trade sources said soft flour mills in Pennsylvania appeared to be the slowest to come back on line. Some smaller mills near Baltimore were expected to resume operations on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Mill sources said continued operations may depend more on whether customers would be able to receive deliveries over the next couple of days, which still wasn’t known in most cases as of Monday.

Ardent Mills and ADM Milling Co. have numerous mills in the areas where the heaviest snowfalls were recorded, along with mills owned by Miller Milling Co., Bay State Milling Co. and The Mennel Milling Co. Major mills owned by General Mills, Inc., and ADM in Buffalo, N.Y., Ardent in Albany, N.Y., and Bartlett Milling Co. in North Carolina had minimal impact since less than three inches of snow fell in most of those areas. The Bartlett mills went down early Friday but were operating Jan. 25, a company source said.

About 25 inches of snow fell around ADM’s Camp Hill, Pa., mill, while about 20 inches were reported around Ardent’s mills in Martins Creek, Pa., and Culpeper, Va., as well as near Bay State’s mill in Clifton, N.J. The ADM mill at Camp Hill was operating on Monday, a company source said.

A spokesperson for Ardent Mills said all of the company’s facilities were operating on Monday, Jan. 25, but details still were being gathered.

The Mennel mill in Roanoke, Va., closed at noon Friday and was restarted on Sunday, losing about two days of flour grind, a company source said.

Bay State reported its mill in Mooresville, N.J., was shut down temporarily on Friday, Jan. 22, and its mill in Clifton, N.J., was shut down temporarily on Saturday, Jan. 23. Both mills were running on Monday, Jan. 25.

Some of the heaviest snowfall, up to 35 inches according to the National Weather Service, was in the area near Miller Milling’s durum and hard wheat flour mill in Winchester, Va. Although personnel were at the plant, a source could not be reached for an update on Monday, Jan. 25.

The two major railroads in the region, Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Corp., both put out updates over the weekend notifying customers of up to 48-hour delays due to the storm. Trade sources on Monday, though, indicated some delays would be up to 72 hours.

“Norfolk Southern operations in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas are expected to be impacted over the next several days by heavy snow, blizzard conditions and sub-zero temperatures in association with Winter Storm Jonas,” the company said. “Customers should expect delays of 24-48 hours on traffic moving through these areas.”

CSX said, “Customers should expect delays up to 48 hours on freight moving through these impacted areas. Recovery crews are working behind the storm to restore full service and make any infrastructure or equipment repairs that may be necessary.”

This article originally appeared in Food Business News.