San Juan port reopens but hurricane aid delivery slow

San Juan port reopens but hurricane aid delivery slow

The Port of San Juan has reopened to daylight traffic, with terminal facilities reportedly sustaining only minor damage from Hurricane Maria, but transporting relief goods and supplies inland is slow going due to delayed truck pick-ups.

TOTE Maritime said it expects to have nearly 3,000 forty-foot-equivalent units of containers on dock awaiting discharge by the end of Tuesday, with more than 900 FEU coming from the recent unloading of the Isla Bella. TOTE Maritime’s Perla del Caribe was set to arrive Monday and discharge more than 1050 FEU of cargo.

Crowley Maritime said more than 3,000 loads of food, supplies and other cargo await discharge from its San Juan terminal. The company has received bookings for more than 2,700 loads of relief supplies for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Croix, with many of the shipments already delivered or in the process of delivery

“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, Jose “Pache” Ayala, vice president, Puerto Rico services at Crowley, said in a statement. “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.”

Crowley said it has secured more warehouse space in San Juan and on Monday set 50 relief trucks to assist with aid delivery. The company has also deployed five container deck barges, totaling a capacity of more than 3,800 TEU.

Shipments of relief cargo and fuel are receiving priority as Puerto Rico continues in the early stages of recovery from last week’s direct hit by the Category 4 hurricane. The storm wrecked utilities, caused extensive flooding, and damaged infrastructure. “This is a major disaster, not unlike Katrina or Sandy,” said the commonwealth’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello.