Businesses across the UAE were yesterday hit by the worst rain in recent years - with forecasters expecting more downpours today.
Logistics companies were among the worst affected, with some reporting half of their operations significantly delayed. Major roads were closed by emergency services or left impassable by as more than four centimeters of rain fell.
"Our operations have been negatively affected today because of the rain. About 30 to 50 per cent of our operations have been grounded," said Geoff Walsh, Director of Operations at DHL. Delivery trucks and vans failed to reach Sharjah and Al Quoz Industrial areas, which were heavily flooded.
Courier delivery vans that usually run four to five shifts a day were unable to run for more than one shift as they failed to navigate through the heavy congestion to return to collection centres. At Al Harith Logistics, more than half of employees failed to turn up for work as they got trapped on their way to the office.
"Most of the vehicles remained grounded and the few that did set out to work could not return for their second shift," said Khalid Rais, Manager at Al Harith Logistics.
Officials at the logistic companies said that while they do rely on
weather forecasts, they never anticipated the levels of rain witnessed yesterday.
Dubai Police reported more than 600 car accidents on the emirate's roads, while several others broke down in flooded roads in Dubai and Sharjah. Flights at Dubai and Sharjah International Airports were slightly delayed.
Terminals at Jebel Ali, Rashid and Al Hamriya ports were unaffected by the rain and operations went on normally with minimum interruptions according to an official from the Marine Department of Dubai Ports World.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) yesterday set an around the clock emergency team to remove any possible accident cause and to respond to any accident victims or road damages resulting from accidents or heavy rains.
Schools in Dubai and Sharjah are officially closed today to help reduce congestion on the roads. The RTA has appealed to motorists to drive slowly and use their lights when driving in the rain. Drivers have also been urged keep a safe distance between the vehicles in front and not to use hazard lights unnecessarily.
Logistics firms worst hit in heavy downpours