It's been more than a week since Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, the most powerful such storm to hit the U.S. territory since 1932. It left much of the U.S. territory devastated, and, as fuel has been in short supply, delivery of much-needed supplies, such as food, medicine, water and construction materials, is essentially at a standstill at the Port of San Juan.
The numbers are staggering: More than 10,000 containers filled with supplies are being stored between Crowley and Tote Marine, the two main shipping companies operating out of the port.
President Donald Trump on Thursday approved a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, allowing ships that aren't owned and operated out of the U.S. to deliver goods to Puerto Rico. Yet with many ports on the island already at or near capacity, it's unclear how this action will help alleviate the situation.
At Crowley, which has served the Puerto Rican market since 1954 (longer than any other Jones Act carrier), the yard is already over the normal capacity of 3,200 containers, and more than 400 additional containers had been delivered by midmorning Thursday. Crowley has rearranged the containers to try and make additional room, but as of Thursday morning there was only capacity for about half a barge of containers. After that, the company will start to store containers on the pier.
The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has also secured an emergency storage space for Crowley, which has the capacity for 200 containers.Still, it's unclear what the next storage plan will be if that lot becomes full, and containers are still not moving out of the port.