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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ports: Shipping from Jacksonville to PR should proceed without major disruptions

Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz

By The Star Staff

According to the close communication that the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) maintains with the port of Jacksonville in Florida and its shipping companies, a major disruption in the distribution chain to Puerto Rico is not expected, PRPA Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz said Sunday.

The Ports chief added that the island has enough supplies to handle a two-day delay of any type of cargo ship as a result of Hurricane Ian’s passage through Florida.

“The Authority has been in direct communication with the port of Jacksonville to learn how operations were going before and after the passage of Hurricane Ian through Florida,” Pizá Batiz said in a written statement. “Currently, a cargo delay of two days is estimated, which should not represent major problems with the Puerto Rican distribution chain because there are enough food supplies on the island to handle a two or three-day disruption. [This week] six ships from the domestic market and Jacksonville are expected to arrive without problems, so there will not be a food crisis because there will be supplies.”

The PRPA executive director noted that on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week he exchanged communications with the executive director of the Port of Jacksonville, Erick Green, and his work team. Pizá Batiz has also been in constant contact with executives of the shipping companies that offer services from the port: Crowley, TOTE Maritime and Trailer Bridge.

The Ports chief said seven domestic vessels have arrived without problems in Puerto Rico, carrying more than 2,000 cargo containers.

Pizá Batiz also noted that, for the first time in the history of the PRPA, the ports authorities of Puerto Rico and Jacksonville signed a memorandum of understanding on April 26, 2021 to strengthen their commercial relationship and promote economic growth in both regions. For Puerto Rico, the Port of Jacksonville is the number one port in the United States, handling nearly 70 percent of the containers arriving on the island. For Jacksonville, Puerto Rico represents around half of its container business.

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