Port partners to aid Bahamas

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Port of Virginia came together with other port and maritime industry partners to send critical supplies to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation.

The hurricane destroyed thousands of homes in the Bahamas and left many residents without electricity or running water. Essential services are impaired, many transportation routes are inaccessible and access to food, water and household goods is limited.

According to a Tuesday press release, MSC Group — a global container shipping and logistics conglomerate and parent company of MSC Cargo — requested assistance from major industry partners to quickly fill two, 40-foot shipping containers in Charleston, S.C., with critical supplies to send to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.

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The Port of Virginia was among the many maritime partners that collaborated to fill shipping containers. These containers were filled with more than 200 generators, tarps, gas cans, canopy tents, power cords, extension cords, batteries, water, toiletries, baby wipes, diapers, cleaning supplies and other essential items.

Containers were filled Saturday through Monday by industry partners in Charleston and then loaded on a vessel in Port Everglades, Fla., on Monday evening, according to the press release. They were scheduled to arrive at Freeport on Tuesday.

“MSC is ultimately a family company, and we are fully committed to supporting both immediate and longer-term relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas,” Fabio Santucci, managing director of MSC USA, stated in the press release. “MSC’s extensive land and sea operations and services, our regional knowledge and our gracious partners have allowed us to quickly mobilize to collect and deliver these items of necessity.”

“We have seen the devastation a hurricane can have on entire communities,” John F. Reinhart, chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, stated in the press release. “After seeing Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, it was important that we band together and take action in this assistance effort.

“We live with the possibility that this could happen to any one of us (ports) and it is important that we think and act as a community in these situations.”

MSC runs the Freeport terminal through a joint venture with its subsidiary, Terminal Investment Ltd., and Hutchison Ports. Supplies were purchased from Costco and Lowe’s, with their extensive cooperation in this matter, according to the press release.

According to the press release, the following industry partners are contributing to the effort: Virginia Port Authority, South Carolina Ports Authority, U.S. Maritime Alliance Ltd., DCLI, South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District — International Longshoremen’s Association, Port of Miami/Miami-Dade County, Port of Houston Authority, TICO Tractors, Moran Towing, Charleston Branch Pilots Association, Stevedoring Services of America, S.C. Stevedores Association, Maritime Association of South Carolina and Container Maintenance Corp./CMC Logistics.