Typhoon Mawar hit Guam last week with winds of more than 100 mph and heavy rainfall, leaving the US island, which lies close to the Northern Mariana Islands, with extensive damage. However, it is now reported that the port is returning to normal operations, helped by shipping companies like Matson which is working in partnership with the American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get aid to the affected locations. Matson operates weekly direct service from the US West Coast, with the largest containership servicing Guam. Last week, one of these vessels, Maunawili, sheltered from the storm and was the first ship to return to port on 28 May. Since then, several additional ships including Manoa (2,800 TEU) and Papa Mau (521 TEU) have also arrived in Guam.
The devastation caused by the typhoon has meant that port offloading had to be done “old school” with employees having to use pen and paper to track the movement and release of containers as the port’s push-to-talk communication service was offline. While debris has been cleared from the terminal yard and the port was functioning, it still remains in need of repair, with gantries numbers four and six reporting issues with their computer boards. The port authorities confirmed that Gantry 5 was operational, but that significant damage had been sustained to its assets.
Despite the challenges, reports indicate that work is continuing to restore the facility. Mobil Oil Guam resumed discharging fuel and the fuel pier, which was damaged in the storm, has been able to function, helped by the US Coast Guard supplying Mobil with communications devices. Additional good news is that power was restored last week, permitting the port to be operational once again. Matson will be playing its part in relief by contributing $350k in in-kind services and transportation in Guam, Micronesia and CNMI, with the company working with relief organizations and due to begin deliveries with its vessel Manukai (2,600 TEU) in Guam on June 6.
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