In an effort to speedily fulfill the building needs of the territory, CTL Home Center is engaging alternative shipping sources to supply customers after costly delays caused by the two major shipping companies – Tropical and Crowley.
Both Tropical and Crowley shipping companies are overwhelmed with aid deliveries from the US mainland to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands and the increased demand for supplies by other Caribbean countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Managing Director of CTL Home Center, Michael Thomas stated that at least four of CTL containers were bumped off Tropical and Crowley ships within the last two weeks as a result of the priority given to products for Puerto Rico and USVI – their first stops before heading to other regional destinations. Caribbean countries like St. Maarten, Dominica and BVI are only allotted a certain amount of containers on each of the ships, he added.
“We waited for over 20 containers for a week and a half, including six containing T1-11 roofing plywood” and after a distressing search for a lost container of Sheet Rock (dry wall) “we found it sitting at Tropical shipping facilities in St. Thomas for several weeks.” Mr. Thomas continued.
This delay in shipments has resulted in empty shelves at CTL Home Center and general shortages of building materials, plumbing materials, electrical supplies, and household products.
Mr. Thomas emphasized that it has been very stressful for the staff at CTL Home Center to continuously tell customers that we don’t know when the items they so desperately need will arrive.
“We are extremely disappointed with the situation the shipping companies have put us in, especially at our time of crisis. The people of the territory deserves better” said Chief Operations Officer, David Thomas.
To get the much needed supplies to the territory and his customers in a timely manner, Managing Director Thomas reiterated that he will engage other shipping companies. He added that he expects the challenges with Tropical and Crowley to be sorted out eventually but he cannot wait any longer.
Mr. Thomas has also called on government to consider and positively act on Tropical Shipping’s longtime request to make arrangements for the BVI to become the first stop or “hub” for distribution to other regional countries.