The shipping service Crowley Maritime expects to have offloaded more than 9,500 loads of commercial and government relief cargo on the island of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria by the end of this week (October 22, 2017).
A 24/7 transportation and logistics pipeline of cargo is being bolstered by Crowley through an additional six US-flagged flat-deck barges – a 40% increase in capacity since the hurricane struck the island in late September.
Crowley has had a sailing every day this week from the US mainland to San Juan.
It reported that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shipments are “still strong” and that commercial cargo shipments are starting to reach normal levels as retailers, manufacturers and other businesses slowly start to come back online and resume operations.
Crowley has loaded more than 900 containers onto vessels to the island in a 72-hour period this week, including more than 100 refrigerated containers.
Upon reaching Puerto Rico, Crowley Logistics is distributing relief cargo through more than 375 trucks on the island.
The logistics group is also providing services such as drayage, direct deliveries, deconsolidation and inventory control, as well as providing forklift equipment and operators to expedite the handling of air freight at the airport.
Crowley Logistics also supports the supply and distribution of water and other relief cargo.
Having completed the transportation and logistics management of nearly 2,600 FEMA loads so far, Crowley has bookings to transport another 1,700 loads to Puerto Rico in the next several weeks over more than 40 vessel sailings.
The company is supporting FEMA with regional distribution capabilities in Ceiba, Aguadilla, and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
Water, ready-to-eat meals, baby and toddler supplies and recovery operations kits continue to move in high volumes.
Crowley’s Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan continues to experience high volumes of cargo on the terminal, though the dispatch rate is returning to close to the normal rate of 500 per day.
The company has reported that increased terminal throughput has reduced the significant backlog resulting from on-island disruptions due to the hurricane, but that additional commercial and relief cargo reaching Puerto Rico is creating “unusually high” loads awaiting dispatch.
Tom Crowley, Chairman and CEO of Crowley, said: “I am very grateful for the extraordinary work of our teams in San Juan, Jacksonville and in other parts of the country.
“Many of these employees – as well as response professionals at FEMA and other government agencies – are military service veterans who learned disaster response logistics in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other tough environments.
“Many of our employees have friends and family directly affected by the disaster.
“Their tireless commitment and focus on getting results is truly impressive and deserves our respect and appreciation.
“While emergency response work continues, it is not too soon to begin focusing on how Puerto Rico’s needs can be met over the longer term.
“We look forward to working as a coalition with government and business to help Puerto Rico rebuild and come back stronger than ever.”