The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the US East Coast last week continues to affect ports handling container and finished vehicle movements in the northeast region but all ports have now reopened and are processing freight.

At the port of New York and New Jersey, which was closed for the whole week last week and which suffered damage to its infrastructure, power supply and rail track, container movements were back up and running on Monday (5th) as were vehicle movements, though these were restricted to daylight hours because of continued power supply problems to the Newark public berths. The port is working to secure portable lighting to extend its hours of operation.

Both the Maher and APM terminals had power restored on Saturday. Power has also been restored this week to the FAPS Terminal and the Toyota Motor Logistics Center, both at Newark port in New Jersey.

The Port Elizabeth Terminal opened for business on Sunday (4th) and all roads have been cleared for access said the port authority in a statement.

“The port has faced unprecedented challenges as a result of Hurricane Sandy,” the statement continued. “The storm surge caused nearly four feet of water throughout the port. Round the clock cleanup efforts have repaired damaged roadways, hundreds of displaced shipping containers, fixed rail lines, damaged electrical systems and other port cargo.”

The port said that clean up operations were continuing around the clock to ensure that all port partners are brought back to full operation.

At the port of Baltimore, the access to which was closed by the coastguard last week, normal services have also been restored.

“The coastguard re-opened access to channels leading to the port of Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon (30th October) and the port saw some cargo operations commence on Tuesday evening,” said a spokesperson. “There was no significant damage to the port that resulted in any impact to port operations,” he said.

Rail connections in the New York and New Jersey region were hit last week by wind, rain and flooding but rail provider Norfolk Southern reports that its train operations have largely returned to normal this week.

“All I can say at this point is we’re operating close to normal in northern New Jersey and New York with a few minor issues to untangle,” said a spokesman for the company. “We expect those to be resolved by [Tuesday].”

CSX stated that its rail network was fully restored and it had lifted the remaining embargoes on intermodal traffic to Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Port Newark Container Terminal, and New York Container Terminal, though it added that customers should continue to expect delays on shipments through the storm-affected area.

All five airports in New York and New Jersey region – LaGuardia, JFK International, Newark Liberty International, Teterboro and Stewart International – are now fully operational with normal flight activity.

According to IHS Global Insight the wider commercial shutdown of the East Coast is likely to result in GDP losses that may outweigh infrastructure damages.

In a preliminary report US economic analysts Gregory Daco and Nigel Gault stated that early estimates of potential infrastructure damages currently stand around $10 billion of insured damages and about twice as much in terms of total damages.

“This would put Sandy on par with Irene in terms of total infrastructure damage estimated around $15 billion. However, with Sandy being a much larger storm, it is likely to end up causing more flooding damage than its 2011 peer, which would increase total damage estimates.”

Many dealerships in the region remain badly affected. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has pledged $1m to begin a national fund-raising campaign for the Emergency Relief Fund of the association’s charitable foundation, set up to provide assistance to employees affected by natural disasters.

The association said that damages were still being assessed in the parts of New York and New Jersey hit hardest by the storm.

“Widespread power outages and downed phone lines are hampering communications between dealers and their employees,” said David Hyatt, NADA vice president of public affairs in a statement. “It will be a long time before we know the extent of the damages but from what we’re hearing the impact on dealerships and their employees is expected to be severe.”

The NADA Foundation is working closely with Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, and Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers.

“This is the most devastating storm ever to hit the Northeast,” said Neale Kuperman, NADA director for Metropolitan New York. “Mark Schienberg and his staff are working around the clock, reaching out to their dealer members. They are doing an unbelievable job. The staff is on the ground visiting dealerships, helping in any way they can, communicating face to face where there is no access to phones or the internet,” Kuperman added.