(SEATTLE) — At the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana, Foss Maritime is loading hundreds of utility trucks onto barges bound for Puerto Rico this week. It’s all part of the ongoing effort to restore power to nearly half of the population who are without electricity.
Last Friday, Ricardo Rossello, governor of Puerto Rico, announced that 1.5 million Puerto Ricans are still without power 100 days after Hurricane Maria hit Sept. 20. As part of the power restoration effort, Foss is working with a coalition of 19 U.S. electric companies to deliver between 500 and 600 utility trucks, including bucket trucks, line trucks, pickups, aerial lifts, CAT skid-steer loaders, digger derricks, and pull trailers.
The electric companies are members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) that have pledged mutual assistance to support the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to restore power throughout the island.
The voyage from the U.S. mainland to Port of Ponce in Puerto Rico will take roughly 10 days, with the trucks scheduled to arrive between Jan. 16 and Jan. 18. Hundreds of line workers and other personnel from participating electric companies will fly to meet the trucks and work on restoring power.
"This movement of hundreds of utility trucks is part of a comprehensive mobilization effort to get needed equipment to the island so utility crews can begin restoring power for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Will Roberts, Foss chief commercial officer. “Foss is proud to be part of those efforts and continues to be at the ready as needs arise.”
In addition to the company’s current project shipping utility trucks, Foss has been helping support relief and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for several months.
Under contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Foss arrived at the island on Oct. 19 with three accommodation vessels, an oceangoing tug and more than 100 personnel to provide warm meals and “floating hotels” for hundreds of first responders, including workers from the U.S. Department of Defense, FEMA and AmeriCorps. The company has also shipped a load of power equipment and three loads of water to the island.
Foss vessels remain in the region to assist as needed through continuing recovery efforts.