Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. It was the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, the worst natural disaster in Dominica in its recorded history, and the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928. Maria caused catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico. In terms of lives lost, the devastation to so many families is unfathomable.
Howard Moshier, New Penn’s President, led our efforts to provide immediate aid to our employees there. On behalf of all of us, each of the Puerto Rico terminal’s staff was provided a generator, gas can, and two extension cords to take home as they began to rebuild. Four pallets of water were sent for full time employees, as well as dock workers and drivers. We hoped these items would help in some small way.
A month later, the terminal still was running on a generator. Our team was delivering to anyone able to accept; however, there was a large amount of freight on hold at the terminal. Many businesses remained closed due to impassable roads. Customers whose facilities were too damaged to accept deliveries picked up freight at our dock.
In spite of it all, our team there made extraordinary sacrifices. “During this most difficult time, Pedro Torres, our Director, Caribbean Sales & Operations, worked around the clock to keep our operation running. He did all this away from his family as they relocated to Florida. Pedro demonstrated tremendous poise throughout the entire ordeal,” says Jason Dekker, Vice President, Sales & Marketing. Howard recognized Pedro in January with an award for his leadership efforts during a very difficult period.
At the time, it was anticipated that our terminal wouldn’t be at 100 percent operating capacity for several months. “Today, it’s is still not close to being fully recovered. All the people that service our freight in Puerto Rico have dealt with tremendous losses, yet they continue to battle through their personal struggles in order to maintain a standard of service that our customers truly value and appreciate,” explains Wayne Schwanke, Vice President of Operations.
We keep our Puerto Rico team and their families in our thoughts, and we’ve taken action to help them and our terminal bounce back. After all, New Penn is the largest NVOCC in the northeast to Puerto Rico with an on-time delivery performance of 99%.
“Puerto Rico is still the shining star of the Caribbean and we will be stronger and better than ever,” says Pedro.
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