Hurricane Sandy disrupts produce distribution, closes stores

11/08/2012 06:39:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

As 45% of the region’s gas stations remain without power, Joel Panagakos, sales ambassador for J. Kings Foodservice Professionals Inc., Holtsville, N.Y., said the fuel disruptions prompted the distributor to abandon traditional delivery windows and save fuel by sending product on straight line deliveries.

The Long Island-based J. Kings also provided cold storage for hospital and healthcare institutional customers.

Expecting trouble with refrigeration, healthcare institution customers brought perishables to J. Kings’ warehouse ahead of the storm, and in early November, Panagakos said J. Kings was providing cold storage by parking 25% of its 85 delivery trucks at customers’ operations.

Panagakos said J. Kings also produced emergency meals, home meal replacements and box lunches for the Red Cross and area hospitals.

West Coast produce deliveries weren’t hampered and Panagakos said the distributor was able to deliver to most customers after the storm disrupted distribution during its first three days.

“The biggest concern is when you put all the effort into selecting, loading and delivering an order,” he said. “If someone isn’t there when you arrive, for whatever reason, you have to bring that order back and have all the work involved. We’ve been doing a lot of phone work with customers to make sure everything is good at their location before we ship. We’ve had storms but never to this extent.”

Panagakos said the storm flooded many areas of Long Island which remain without power and said soldiers are guarding the area to prevent looting.


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