Freight News, Sea

Crowley Says On-Island Distribution is Key

[ October 2, 2017   //   ]

With more than 3,000 loads of food, supplies and other cargo on its terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and more on the way, executives with  said today the key to providing relief to citizens impacted by Hurricane Maria will be expediting local transportation and distribution of the cargo.

“We want to get goods to people as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to do that we need our customers to work with their truckers to take delivery of their cargo,” said Jose “Pache” Ayala, vice president, Puerto Rico services. “Once that begins to happen with greater frequency, we will need customers to unload and return empty containers so that we can bring more cargo to the island, which is suffering and in great need of life’s necessities.”

“The road to recovery starts with people making personal sacrifices for the greater good,” Ayala said. “Just as many of our employees have stepped up to unload vessels under difficult circumstances, we are hopeful that shippers and their truckers will act quickly to help get cargo to the people who need it most.”

Working with a variety of governmental agencies, Crowley has already taken bookings for more than 2,700 container loads of relief cargo to be delivered to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix. Many of these loads have been delivered, are in transport, or will be readied for transport in the coming days.

To handle the influx of cargo, Crowley’s logistics group has secured additional warehouse space in Puerto Rico to help process and expedite delivery of needed supplies. Today, the logistics team dispatched 50 relief trucks to deliver relief supplies at various distribution centers around the island. These containers will be unloaded immediately and returned to Crowley for use in bringing more supplies to residents.

Crowley has also secured additional vessels to handle government and commercial cargo. Five new container deck barges with a combined capacity of more than 3,800 20-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) have been placed into service along with accompanying tugboats to tow them. They, along with Crowley’s existing vessel fleet, will operate continuously without a set schedule to get as much cargo to the island as quickly as possible and as many empty containers out of the island so that they can be returned with full loads.

Much of the relief cargo is being funneled through Jacksonville, where the company’s logistics unit is taking cargo out of over-the-road trailers and transferring it to ocean containers prior to being loaded on a vessel.

Crowley, which has about 300 Puerto Rico employees, has served the Puerto Rico market since 1954, longer than any other Jones Act carrier in the trade.