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Puerto Rico begins to restore essential services

SAN JUAN, PR: October 06, 2017. The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), representing 450 companies specializing in U.S. cabotage routes, says its members have delivered over 11,300 containers of aid to Puerto Rico following the devastation by Hurricane Maria.

The AMP said domestic Jones Act vessels expect to deliver an additional 9,000 containers, including at least 3,300 for FEMA, with food, clothing, medicines, and other goods over the next two weeks as member vessels have the capacity to carry more than 4,000 containers per week to the island.

Trump travelAccording to ongoing updates from the Puerto Rico government, airlines are now operating to normal schedules and 78.18 percent of the island's gas stations have stocks; 73.03 percent of the supermarkets are now open although just 10.7 percent of the electricity grid has been restored; 24.09 percent of cell towers are now working with 42 percent of the island accessible via telephone and internet; 481 ATMs are usable and 55.59 percent of bank branches have reopened.

With the ports working at 75 percent capacity and container throughput now at 81.64 percent, over 513,000 barrels of oil and over 512,000 similar units of gasoline have been delivered to the island.

However nearly 8,400 U.S. citizens remain in 132 shelters across the island according to the latest government update: PR

Earlier this week Oxfam America commented on the Trump Administration's response to the disaster with its president Abby Maxman saying: "We are outraged at the slow and inadequate response the U.S. government has mounted in Puerto Rico.

"Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and health care are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we're hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response."

FormSwift, a San-Francisco-based SaaS provider of business, legal and personal forms, has calculated that the cost to the U.S. taxpayer in 2017 for flying Trump and his family on personal travel would have paid for over 129 container ships to deliver food, water and other aid to Puerto Rico (see picture).

With the distance between Florida and the island 1,150 nautical miles and the cost of fuel at US$321 per gallon, FormSwift reckons the total amount to send one ship, one way, is US$249,899. Based on publicly available data, the company estimates the taxpayer cost of Trump's personal travel this year totals US$32,000,000. Divide one number by the other, it suggests, and the answer is 129+ sailings.

The AMP points out the Jones Act does not prevent foreign vessels delivering cargo to Puerto Rico and that foreign- flagged vessels "compete directly with the American shipping companies in an intensely competitive transportation market".

Puerto Rico donations: http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

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