Haiti port damaged by earthquake
Marine facilities in Port-au-Prince were damaged in Tuesday’s earthquake, and ocean carriers are trying to determine the best way to resume service to Haiti.
Mary Ann Kotlarich, a spokesman for Maersk Line, said the company is part of a Sea Freight vessel sharing agreement and has a small feeder vessel that calls the Port-au-Prince. The Pacific Voyager was supposed to call there Tuesday evening and is anchored and awaiting word.
“We have been informed that the port has collapsed and is non-operational,” she said.
Seaboard Marine and Crowley Maritime Corp. said they had temporarily suspended their liner services.
|Port-au-Prince marine facilities in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake (Source: U.S. Coast Guard).|
“Preliminary reports are unfortunately not encouraging,” Seaboard said. “Besides widespread damage throughout the city, there is significant structural damage to the cranes and piers at the main port and, for the foreseeable future, cargo vessels are unable to dock there.”
Seaboard’s Amstel Trader did not make its regularly scheduled northbound call Wednesday morning and the company said it is temporarily not taking bookings or receiving Haiti-bound cargo in Miami, Brooklyn, and Fernandina Beach, Fla., until it receives more information regarding the ability of its ships to safely berth in Port-au-Prince.
Crowley said it has temporarily suspended regularly scheduled cargo services to and from Haiti as port infrastructure damages are being assessed.
Crowley said it is cooperating with and assisting U.S. government agencies including U.S. Agency for International Development, the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and relief agencies with emergency shipments to the country.
Crowley said it stands ready to ship emergency supplies and needed cargo as soon as port conditions allow. The company is evaluating how it can best deploy its wide variety of specialized marine assets to deliver humanitarian cargo and assistance to the disaster relief.
Charles Towsley, president of Sante Shipping Lines, which just started up a new service to Haiti in October, said his company’s vessel, Sante Manna was in Miami and was scheduled to sail on Friday.
Sante’s service calls the ports of Cap Haitien and Gonaives, which are both north of Port-au-Prince and have not reported damage.
Towsley said he has heard unofficially the docks in Port-au-Prince have been damaged, but said the U.S. Coast Guard had sent a team to investigate. He said use of Gonaives may end up being essential in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Meanwhile, Towsley said his company has made a 12-bay cross-dock facility available for consolidation of relief supplies and has develop special rates for aid cargo to reduce the cost of moving relief supplies for non-profits.
Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said it will waive all tariffs, such as docking fees, for cargo and vessels delivering relief supplies to Haiti.
Express delivery company UPS said it is donating $1 million through its charitable foundation to the relief effort, including $500,000 of in-kind services to ship emergency supplies. UPS operates one of the largest air freighter fleets in the world and also has specialized logistics expertise and warehouses.
Experts say getting relief to Haiti's population is extremely difficult because the country has little modern infrastructure.
Maritime Consultant Dennis Bryant has posted a series of photographs showing the damage at the marine terminals in Port-au-Prince. Bryant received them from Ronald Signorino of The Blueoceana Co., who is unsure who took them. ' Chris Dupin