AAPA Seaports Advisory

Emergency Response: New York/New Jersey, Port Everglades

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New York/New Jersey: Port Authority Deploys Emergency Contingent to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is deploying a 70-member team of emergency personnel and support equipment to assist Puerto Rico’s recovery following massive devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
Relief assistance provided by the port authority’s personnel responds to a wide variety of recovery needs in the island commonwealth, including search-and-rescue operations, restoration of airport services and reestablishment of port commerce. The team is entirely self-sufficient to preserve limited food supplies and other resources on the island for its residents.

Forty-five staffers from the port authority’s aviation department are helping counterparts at San Juan International Airport and other airfields resume full flight operations. Eleven employees of the agency’s port department are assisting in damage assessments at the port of San Juan to help get shipping commerce back in operation.

Ten port authority police officers are providing search-and-rescue services, while also helping to support airport security initiatives as flights resume. The agency’s office of emergency management is sending support equipment and four staff members.

"Our hearts go out to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as they recover from Hurricane Maria’s unprecedented damage in the Commonwealth," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. "This agency received help from numerous out-of-state emergency personnel teams in the wake of our own recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and this deployment is a way for us to give back to others now in need."

The port authority team’s deployment to Puerto Rico is part of Gov. Cuomo’s overall statewide Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort for the Commonwealth, which also includes a donation drive for nonperishable goods, coordination of business donations to local charities and efforts to provide medical supplies and personnel to the ravaged island.

The states of New York and New Jersey participate in a national framework for assistance under FEMA’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which works through the states to ensure vitally important coordination of resources. The port authority has pledged full and responsive engagement with requests that come to either or both states during emergencies throughout the nation.

Last month, the port authority provided assistance to Texas in the wake of the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey that had several critical elements.

First, with respect to Hurricane Harvey, the port authority reiterated its readiness to participate in any requests for aid, leading to the deployment by its office of emergency management of a first-responder team to assist in Texas as part of a larger New York State response contingent.

Second, and apart from the national and state efforts, the agency’s port department reached out to about a dozen port cities in Texas and Florida to offer on-the-ground assistance in recovery from severe flooding, based on best practices used here in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to get the region’s port terminals up and running. Port authority officials provided advice and guidance in helping the Port of Corpus Christi resume shipping operations, and continue to stand ready to assist any ports that seek guidance.

Third, the port authority’s aviation department independently launched the LaGuardia Airport Drive for Hurricane Harvey relief, with the focus on the collection of baby food and supplies, cleaning materials, toilet paper, personal hygiene products and flashlights.

Port Everglades Waives Tariff Charges for Relief Supplies to Caribbean

Port Everglades is waiving its tariff charges for ocean shipping lines transporting humanitarian relief supplies to Caribbean counties impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Port Everglades Tariff Item No. 950 allows the port’s chief executive to waive the port tariff charges for shippers who are transporting donated supplies or resources from governmental or charitable organizations up to $10,000. Other reduced fees are outlined in the tariff item for shippers who reduce their transport fees.

"Our Caribbean neighbors are suffering losses not only to their personal property, but also to their livelihoods which are dependent upon the cruise industry and tourism," said Port Everglades Chief Executive Steven Cernak, PPM®. "The tariff waiver is a direct incentive to ocean carriers and companies supplying construction supplies, food and medicine to help the people of the Caribbean rebuild."

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