In an unprecedented gesture of appreciation, Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corp., recently presented a 2017 Thomas Crowley Award — the company’s highest honor — to its Puerto Rico team in recognition of their “heroic efforts to resume and sustain the flow of critical cargo from the U.S. mainland to the island following Hurricane María.”
In the aftermath of the September 2017 storm, Crowley’s more than 300 union and administrative employees resumed services and reopened company facilities, including a warehouse and the Isla Grande Terminal, just two days after the storm passed.
Within hours of the U.S. Coast Guard reopening the harbor in San Juan, Crowley began discharging government and commercial cargo from vessels to support relief efforts on the island.
The team was also recognized for its work over the past year helping to transform the company’s Isla Grande port terminal to a lift-on/lift-off operation and making it the most modern and efficient facility in the Caribbean. Employees adapted to and embraced change as they began working the new 900-foot pier, three ship-to-shore gantry cranes, expanded dry and refrigerated container facilities, truck access and egress gates, and terminal operating system, which has significantly decreased truck turn times and increased cargo velocity.
“Our employees are so grateful for this recognition and are particularly emotional knowing that they received it for contributions that made a difference to their families, friends, co-workers and, above all, Puerto Rico,” said Crowley’s Jose “Pache” Ayala, vice president, Puerto Rico Services. “Crowley has a strong culture and this honor is testament that nothing is more important than our people, who are fully committed to this trade and the wellbeing of our island.”
“This award is truly gratifying as it recognizes the unending commitment that Crowley employees showed to restore the supply chains of customers and assist with the government response, despite facing their own personal and family challenges,” said Crowley’s Ken Black, vice president, warehousing and logistics.
Crowley provided more than 200 sailings via U.S. Jones Act vessels after the storm, delivering more than 100,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). The company increased vessel capacity by 67 percent to handle the surge in cargo and provided nearly 24/7 operations at the terminal and warehouses on the island.