Keeping trade moving
- While Maersk Line does not operate in Haiti, Hurricane Matthew caused extensive disruption to the network in the US.
- The storm impacted eight ports – including Freeport Bahamas, Miami, Jacksonville, Charleston, Savannah, and Wilmington – which were shut down and evacuated, and over 70 vessel port calls over eight days.
- Freeport Bahamas, a major transshipment hub, was closed for three weeks leading to severe delays to cargo and major re-routing of vessels. Maersk suffered an estimated half a million dollars in losses.
- The impact to customers was lessened thanks to a close collaboration between operational and commercial colleagues in NAMLOC and the USA Cluster.
- “We have learned over the years and improved how we react as these phenomenon happen, whether it’s a winter storm or a hurricane. Our efforts in planning and previous experience in execution of our crisis plans allowed us to quickly come together as one team, despite geographical differences, to minimise impact to our customers and to keep the freight moving,” said Davis.
2.1 million people are now said to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including access to quality water, education, shelter, child protection, health and nutrition. The country is also struggling with an increase in cholera cases.
Relief items en route
Maersk is contributing up to USD 125,000 to the aid effort in Haiti as part of the Logistics Emergency Team (LET) – a cross-company partnership between Maersk, Agility, and UPS - that supports the Logistics Cluster led by United Nations World Food Programme in providing humanitarian relief efforts during natural disasters.
A Maersk vessel with 11 containers containing 5,380 shelter tool kits, plastic buckets, vehicles and other relief items on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) is currently en route from Las Palmas and Dubai, scheduled to arrive in Port au Prince, Haiti by 19th December.
Maersk has also donated a reefer container for storage of vaccinations for UNICEF, while Damco has provided forklifts, operators and other services for local operations to run more efficiently.
Rob Rolsky, Head of Operations, Projects and Government Services, Damco coordinated Maersk’s response to the emergency.
“UN aid organisations needed help getting supplies out quickly, and with temperature sensitive storage for donated medicines arriving into the country. Maersk was quick to step up, and our team has done a great job communicating with the World Food Programme on behalf of Maersk. With our assistance, the UN can focus a bit less on logistics in this emergency response, and a bit more on their real mission: helping more people, faster.”
Stephen Cahill, Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator at the UN World Food Programme said the swift response by the LET was critical to helping vulnerable communities in Haiti.
“The LET response in Haiti has once again proved to be an excellent example of how public-private collaboration can make a difference in delivering humanitarian support. In a sudden on-set emergency like Hurricane Matthew it is vital to respond swiftly. The first planning discussions with Maersk were held before the hurricane actually hit Haiti, enabling the Logistics Cluster to provide effective disaster relief to the affected population.”