Jones Act Shipping Companies Receive Humanitarian Award for Hurricane Maria Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

crowley flat-deck barge
A Crowley Maritime Corp. barge Photo: Crowley Maritime

Jacksonville, Florida-based shipping company Crowley Maritime Corporation was among multiple Jones Act shipping companies to receive a Humanitarian Award from Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) for their role in the relief effort in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The award, which was accepted on the behalf of the company’s Puerto Rico employees by Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO, and Jose Nazario, director of finance in San Juan, was presented during the 41st annual Silver Bell Awards Dinner, which is attended by over 700 members from the shipping industry and associated companies. 

Trailer Bridge and Tote Maritime were also honored with the award for their efforts during the recovery.

In the aftermath of the September storm, Crowley’s liner services and logistics teams, working with government and commercial customers, played an integral role in the recovery.

Crowley’s more than 300 union and administrative employees resumed services and reopened company facilities, including a warehouse and the Isla Grande terminal, just two days after the storm passed, and began discharging government and commercial cargo from vessels to support relief efforts on the island within hours of the U.S. Coast Guard reopening the harbor in San Juan.

“Two hours after the US Coast Guard reopened San Juan harbor, Jones Act shipping line Crowley Maritime began discharging supplies off barges with commercial and government relief,” said David Rider, president and executive director of SCI. “Since then Crowley has offered almost 24/7 service PR increasing its capacity by 67 percent, transporting more than 100,000 TEUs of relief and recover supplies, delivering more than 40,000 electrical poles to restore the power supply and more than 7,000 transformers for the electrical grid; not to mention the power restoration equipment, oversized drill, bridge rebuilding supplies, fuel truck and 177,000 gallons of JetA1 fuel.”

Crowley has since provided a constant transportation and logistics pipeline to the island since the storm made landfall – unloading more than 200 vessels in a 182-day period.

“We are as humbled by this recognition as we are grateful for the extraordinary work of our teams in San Juan, Jacksonville and in other parts of the country following Maria,” said Tom Crowley. “Many of our employees have friends and family that were directly affected by the disaster and many are residents of Puerto Rico themselves. Their tireless commitment and focus on finding solutions that make an impact continues to be truly impressive and deserving of our respect and appreciation. As a company, we have long since been committed to the people and businesses of Puerto Rico, through the good times and the challenging ones, this response is an extension of that.” 

A spokesman for TOTE Maritime said it was also honored to receive the award.

“TOTE is honored to receive the Humanitarian Award from SCI for our efforts following Hurricane Maria,” said Eduardo Pagan, Vice President for TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico based in San Juan. “We were one of many companies involved in relief efforts which also included National Shipping, Trailer Bridge and Crowley as well as the critical support of all of the labor unions who worked day and night to make cargo available quickly and efficiently. TOTE’s commitment to the island remains strong. Having provided services to Puerto Rico for more than 30 years, we know first-hand the resilience and strength of the people of Puerto Rico and are proud to serve the island and its communities as they continue to rebuild and recover.”