Much has been written in recent weeks about vessel capacity issues in the U.S. – Puerto Rico trade after the departure of Horizon Lines from the market. While there has been a short-term strain on the supply chain network, the situation is improving. Today we would like to provide you with a summary of the service enhancements Crowley has made.
Most recently we added capacity in the South Atlantic service utilizing the flat deck barge 455-5. By adding the new barge to the service, coupled with an accelerated weekly schedule, we were able to offer 18 voyages from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Juan in March. Those additional six sailings resulted in a 35 percent increase in the capacity Crowley offered to the Puerto Rico trade when compared to the same time period last year.
We addressed capacity in the North Atlantic beginning in late 2014 with the replacement of two 580-series triple deck barges with two larger 730-series triple deck barges in the service between Pennsauken, NJ, and San Juan. Doing so resulted in a 30 percent increase in Crowley’s capacity in that lane.
Accounting for the aforementioned enhancements, plus changes made to load configurations on some barges and the availability of previously unused vessel capacity, Crowley is now able to handle approximately 780 more loads per week, or 78 percent of the roughly 1,000 loads Horizon had been handling prior to exiting the market.
While significant progress has been made to increase the weekly capacity in both the South Atlantic and North Atlantic services, other key initiatives are underway vital to the overall success of the Puerto Rico trade, including the acquisition of new equipment and more efficient equipment utilization and turn times. We recently added nearly 3,000 pieces of equipment of varying sizes to our fleet and are phasing in another 4,500 units in the coming months. Moreover, we have implemented new business processes that are contributing to reduced turn time on equipment and a significant increase in equipment availability.
We will continue to enhance and refine our service to better serve you. We thank you for your continued patience as we work to fill any lingering gaps in service to the trade. And we want to assure you that our commitment to the Puerto Rico trade has never been stronger.