NEW YORK -- Two days of bridge, tunnel and road blockages into Manhattan have led to widespread disruption of commercial deliveries in the region, causing many supermarkets to run low on stock, overrun by panicked customers. Grounded air traffic also contributed to delays in package and mail deliveries, and there were scattered reports of price-gouging by gasoline stations and heating oil companies.
"There was panic buying on Tuesday," said John Catsimatidis, chairman of the Red Apple Group, which owns the supermarkets Gristede's and Sloan's and has 50 food stores in Manhattan. "We were wiped out of water, milk and bread."
Food distributors said they expect the situation to ease up Thursday.
"It's been difficult because we happen to be on the Jersey side of the river," said Jack Zumba, a senior official at White Rose Foods in Carteret, N.J., which services more than 100 stores in Manhattan. "We did send a couple of trucks over the George Washington bridge today to uptown and Long Island." But Zumba said it's taken some of their trucks 20 hours to make a round trip from New Jersey to some of their locations in the New York metro area.
Federal Express said it expanded its trucking network. Many FedEx Express shipments will likely be delayed a minimum of 24 to 48 hours, and the FedEx Express Money Back Guarantee will remain suspended until normal operations resume.
The U.S. Postal Service also had to rely on ground transportation, and officials said it didn't collect mail Wednesday in some areas.
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