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January 29 2010

Crowley lighters Haiti relief containers ashore

Crowley Maritime Corporation, working under contract with the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), successfully discharged 202 20-foot containers of relief supplies across a beach in Port-au-Prince, Haiti yesterday. It was the largest post-disaster lightering operation to date and follows a trial shipment of 12 containers last week.

Much like the first discharge, this most recent lightering operation involved lifting containers from the 820-TEU Marcajama, a Crowley containership anchored in the harbor, to two smaller, shallow-draft landing vessels for transport and discharge over the beach to Port-au-Prince.

"This second, much larger shipment is a culmination of a lot of teamwork and professionalism from various members of the Crowley team," said John Hourihan, Crowley's senior VP and general manager, Latin America services. "With every voyage we are able to make, we bring much needed supplies to the people of Haiti allowing them to begin the process of rebuilding their lives, their country and eventually re-establish commerce."

Following the discharge, the Marcajama is enroute back to Florida where she will once again load cargo and return to Port-au-Prince under contract with USTRANSCOM. The ship is scheduled to make a return trip to Port-au-Prince in the middle of next week.

To continue to improve upon the temporary cargo operations, Crowley is mobilizing two 400-foot-long, 100-foot-wide flat deck barges, along with two Manitowoc 230-ton crawler cranes for USTRANSCOM. They will be brought into Port-au-Prince to serve as a makeshift dock for future cargo operations. The first barge and crane departing Orange, Texas should arrive in Haiti on or about February 4. The second barge is being outfitted in Lake Charles, La. and should arrive by mid-February.

Relief cargoes continue to be consolidated and stuffed into containers at Crowley's Miami warehouse and distribution center. Crowley's Jacksonville, Fla, warehouse and distribution center is also ready should there be a need to have cargo consolidated in the northeast Florida area.

"Our Miami warehouse team has worked around the clock to meet the warehousing and distribution needs of USTRANSCOM," said Steve Collar, senior VP and general manager, logistics. "The transfer of loads from trucks to oceangoing containers upon arrival at the warehouse is an essential component to ensuring the loads are ready for sailing on time."

While Crowley has suspended its regularly scheduled commercial cargo services to and from Haiti, a Crowley customer service group has been formed to answer questions and help the shipping public interested in getting relief goods into Haiti. All inquiries should be made to 1-800-490-3321, or HaitiReliefCargo@crowley.com. Due to the unstable situation in the country, no relief cargo bookings will be accepted without being qualified by this Haiti Team customer service group.


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