Haiti Vessel Calls Temporarily Suspended Due to Earthquake
January 20, 2010
January 20, 2010 morning update. A massive earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12. Seaboard's local Haiti office, as well as a team of employees from the U.S. that arrived over the weekend, are still evaluating the situation. Besides widespread damage throughout the city, there is substantial structural damage to the cranes and piers at the main port and, for the foreseeable future, regular cargo vessels are unable to safely dock. The U.S. military has re-opened a small portion of the port but with considerable limitations and restrictions. It does not appear that commercial vessels will be able to dock there for several weeks.
Due to this uncertainty, we have temporarily suspended vessel calls to Haiti. We have also temporarily ceased taking bookings or receiving cargo bound for Haiti at any of our ports (Miami, Brooklyn, and Fernandina Beach) until we receive more information regarding the ability of our ships to safely berth. Customers with cargo in-route to Haiti should have already been directly provided additional information by Seaboard’s traffic department.
Seaboard appreciates the concern shown by our customers and friends for our Haitian staff. Fortunately, all of the employees in our Port-au-Prince office are safe and healthy. We are uncertain, though, when we will be able to re-open our office but expect that it will be within a week.
We are working closely with government partners and intend to fully assist, as Seaboard has traditionally done, the people of Haiti. The logistical challenges are immense but we are committed to finding creative solutions in the recovery efforts. We believe that we will soon be able to dock vessels at another Haitian port but such cargoes will likely be restricted only to the U.S. government and/or international relief agencies with proven, secure and effective distribution networks within Haiti. We encourage those who wish to make monetary donations to contact legitimate non-profit organizations with existing infrastructure in Haiti such as the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) or Food for the Poor (www.foodforthepoor.org/haitiquake) who are coordinating emergency response. Please be careful of scammers when donating and be wary of unsolicited email donation requests.
As soon as we receive more information, this article will be updated.
Seaboard extends its deepest sympathies to our friends, customers and colleagues in Haiti who have suffered losses.