Puerto Rico Experiences Significant Truck Driver Shortage

November 10, 2017 Published by

The territory of Puerto Rico is in dire need of shipments of important supplies, such as food, water and other essentials that could provide some much-needed relief. However, while a lot of these supplies have arrived in the main port city of San Juan, a massive shortage of truckers combined with the completely devastated infrastructure on the island have made it next to impossible to get this assistance to the people who need it.

As of late September, there were still more than 10,000 containers of important supplies that were left sitting at the San Juan ports, with no one available to get them sent out to local communities. Only 20 percent of truck drivers had reported back to work after Hurricane Maria passed over the island, which made for a significant distribution backlog. With phone and power lines being knocked out, many trucking companies have not even been able to contact their truck drivers to determine when they will be able to return to work.

Additional challenges came in the form of a major diesel fuel shortage and roads that had been blocked off by debris and fallen trees. Therefore, even if there had been enough truckers available to work in Puerto Rico, they would have still had a difficult time getting to their destinations. In fact, of the 3,000 shipping containers received by the Crowley shipping company alone, only about four percent had actually been dispatched from the shipping center.

Fortunately, the United States authorized a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, a law that limited shipping to American ports with the use of foreign vessels. The governor of Puerto Rico and various American lawmakers had been arguing that such a waiver would help the territory receive crucial shipments of supplies much quicker.

However, this waiver only lasted for 10 days, and there still remains so much to do in Puerto Rico to help the territory recover from the catastrophic damage it sustained in the storms.

Significant damage throughout the territory

In the aftermath of the storms, there was a nearly complete shutdown of Puerto Rico’s economy. That shutdown was expected to last for weeks and have a devastating impact on businesses and individuals in the territory. Many people were running low on cash, and were worried about their survival prospects.

Those banks that are actually open still have reduced hours and typically have long lines. Few ATMs remained operational after power outages, and many people had to shut down their businesses due to a lack of power. Meanwhile, generators were not a realistic option, because of the diesel fuel shortage.

Those supplies that have not been able to get sent to local communities because of the conditions could be enough to help more than half a million citizens of Puerto Rico get the assistance they need. But until more assistance comes, it is unlikely the territory will see a full recovery any time soon.

For more information about the situation in Puerto Rico and about how shipping companies can provide assistance in disaster situations, contact our trusted GPS monitoring service today.

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