Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shipping Containers Provide Housing For Stricken Haiti

Crowley Maritime Assist After The Devastation
Shipping News Feature

HAITI – In June we told how converted ISO shipping containers were being used to provide medical facilities in the stricken country and now standard 20’ boxes are carrying independent housing units with many going on to provide shelter for the survivors of the January earthquake which cost the lives of around 230,000 people. We have reported before on the innovative uses of the ubiquitous container but with one million made homeless by the disaster this means a relief effort of gargantuan proportions is required and each 20 foot container is capable of carrying steel building sets for 50 homes.

Crowley Maritime Corporation tell us they are continuing to support efforts to bring some sort of normality back to the island most recently by transporting the emergency housing units for Steel Elements International, LLC to homeless families. Shipped in the containers and packaged into kits, the homes are assembled in country by trained Haitians and humanitarian aid workers.

To date, Crowley's logistics group has managed the transportation of 68 containers for Steel Element's containers destined for Port-au-Prince. In all, Steel Elements plans to send 300 containers to relief organizations in Haiti. The temporary structures, which replace tents, measure 10 feet by 20 feet and are hurricane resistant, fire resistant and earthquake resistant and are the ideal structure for harsh environments and are being delivered to various aid organizations in Port-au-Prince and Leogane, including CHF International and the Lutheran World Federation.

Crowley's logistics team worked closely to ensure that fifty of the structures were loaded into each 20-foot container at Crowley's new 70,000-square-foot warehouse near the Jacksonville Port Authority's Dames Point Marine Terminal and transported to South Florida where they are loaded aboard a Crowley vessel destined for Haiti. The company also served as freight forwarder on more than a dozen loads, facilitating their transport on other U.S. flagged vessels.

"Crowley is fantastic to work with," said Jane Legere from Steel Elements. "I have interacted with individuals from several departments (sales, booking, logistics, distribution, customer service and finance) and have consistently been met with helpfulness, sincerity and a pleasant manner. These people all appear to really enjoy what they do and make every effort to meet their customer's needs."

"Housing displaced Haiti residents is still one of the toughest logistical challenges faced by many aid organizations," said Carlos Rice, Crowley vice president, logistics. "We are pleased to be working with Steel Elements to provide these much-needed units to the island. We know recovery will be slow-moving and we will remain committed to the Haiti community by offering our transportation and logistics expertise."

More information about the housing units can be obtained from Steel Elements, CHF and the Haiti Emergency Housing sites.

Photo courtesy of Crowley Maritime.