On November 8, 2013, the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall struck the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan claimed the lives of more than 6,200 Filipinos and left nearly two million residents homeless. In the major port city of Tacloban, 90% of structures were either destroyed or damaged while other cities, such as Ormoc, reported similarly severe levels of infrastructure devastation.
The immediate and widespread need for humanitarian aid ranked among history’s most urgent. In the hours and days following Haiyan, reports streamed in of new casualties resulting not from the storm’s initial impact, but from the resulting lack of food, water, shelter and medical attention. The chaos was compounded by the near-annihilation of most ports near the impact zone, making it difficult for ships carrying desperately needed rations to dock and distribute life-saving supplies.
At Port Jersey Logistics, our reaction mirrored that of thousands of other businesses across the U.S. Given the magnitude of human suffering, the question “Should we help?” did not need to be spoken aloud. But given the Philippines’ stunning level of disarray in the aftermath of this unprecedented natural disaster, it’s understandable that we weren’t quite sure how to help. We were, quite literally, a logistics company watching a logistical nightmare play out on CNN. How could we offer our logistics equipment and expertise as expediently as possible to help those in need? Thankfully, since 2009 we have had the pleasure of partnering with the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), an organization serving as an aggregator of logistics-related charitable need. The organization was founded, in part, by the reaction to the challenging response to Hurricane Katrina, a catastrophe that prompted an outpouring of logistics donations that were not used as efficiently as possible due to a lack of centralized organization.
When the request for aid came from ALAN, we at Port Jersey Logistics knew that this organization would serve as a fast funnel – a source that could gather aid from other major logistics providers and direct them to where they were most needed. In response, Continental Logistics (our freight brokerage division) quickly partnered with another company to move three containers of American Red Cross materials overseas to aid typhoon victims.
We at Port Jersey Logistics were grateful to play a small role in what will undoubtedly be a years-long road to recovery in the Philippines, and extend our sincerest thanks both to the American Red Cross and the American Logistics Aid Network.