Seaboard Marine has proudly provided regular service to Haiti with multiple calls in the past two months including the first liner vessel to call in the Port-au-Prince area since the massive earthquake of January 12. The M/V Seaboard Sun, a RoRo vessel with a deadweight capacity of 7,748 tons, docked at Lafiteau, Haiti and discharged relief cargoes on January 27 and has since called thirteen more times. On each sailing the vessel has carried not only humanitarian goods but has also loaded back dozens of export containers of Haitian exports, mostly assembled apparel.
Lafiteau is less than ten miles from Port-au-Prince and has clear roads to the main part of the city. Local personnel have been repairing the wharf and facilities at Lafiteau since the earthquake and will continue to do so on those days when the dock is not in active use. The Seaboard Sun V-130 loaded Haitian relief cargoes yesterday in Kingston and will discharge over 110 containers this morning in Lafiteau. Since the earthquake, Seaboard Marine has carried over two thousand containers to and from Haiti.
Although the Seaboard Sun can carry all types of rolling cargoes, initial efforts were focused on humanitarian goods and infrastructure relief projects routed through major international relief entities and U.S. government agencies. The Seaboard Sun utilizes a specialized ramp to discharge cargoes. In order to maximize its vessel calls into Lafiteau, the ship efficiently shuttles back and forth between Kingston, Jamaica and Lafiteau. Seaboard Marine has two vessel calls per week from Miami to Kingston and also weekly calls to Kingston from Brooklyn, NY and Fernandina Beach, FL. Haiti-bound cargoes from all of these ships are then relayed over Kingston on to the Seaboard Sun, providing a twice weekly all-water service to Port-au-Prince.
We have been working closely with government partners and relief agencies. The logistical challenges continue to be immense within Haiti but have improved in recent weeks. Seaboard is committed to moving relief aid in the most efficient manner possible and it is critical that discharged containers be moved quickly to the distribution points and emptied promptly. Due to load limits at the Lafiteau dock, Seaboard is not able to carry heavy cargoes.
As part of a USAID food program, 4,500 tons of bagged grain (225 twenty-foot containers) were loaded in late January in Lake Charles, LA on the M/V Heinrich J, a Seaboard Marine chartered vessel.
Those containers were discharged on February 2, not in Lafiteau, but rather at a temporary dock in Port-au-Prince. The pier at Lafiteau was not capable of handling this type of ship. Meanwhile in the month of February alone, Seaboard Marine’s cargo terminal in Houston, Jacintoport, has loaded over 600 cargo containers full of bagged grains that have been carried to Haiti by vessels operated by Seaboard Marine as well as other shipping lines. Those efforts have continued in March.
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 grateful that they are alive and are appreciative of their incredible efforts since the earthquake to resume operations and serve the needs of their fellow countrymen.
Due to damages at our office in downtown Port-au-Prince, we relocated our office a few blocks and it re-opened January 25. The new temporary address and phone numbers are as follows:
Seaboard Marine of Haiti
No. 13 bis Avenue Pie XII – Bicentenaire
Telephones: (509) 25-19-64-97
Fortunately, the container terminal, Maritime Logistics of Haiti, that Seaboard Marine utilizes near the Port of Port-au-Prince suffered only minimal damages and promptly re-opened on January 22. The Maritime Logistics of Haiti terminal and personnel have since been supporting the M/V Seaboard Sun’s cargoes being discharged from and loaded back at Lafiteau.
We encourage those who wish to make 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 have performed incredibly in coordinating emergency response. Ongoing monetary contributions are needed to support the long-term recovery.
Seaboard extends its deepest sympathies to our friends, customers and colleagues in Haiti who have suffered such devastating losses. We also applaud the tens of thousands of relief workers, doctors and nurses, and military personnel that have provided aid to the Haitian people in this tragic time. Their work is admired and appreciated.