Thursday, November 10, 2022

Shipping Containers and Hurricanes

 It’s time to talk about shipping containers. And hurricanes and tropical storms. And how hurricanes and tropical storms affect shipping containers. There’s a lot to talk about right now. 

The biggest news is that Florida is being hit by Hurricane Nicole. This comes about a month after Florida met Nicole’s angry relative, Hurricane Ian. 

The empty shipping container was supposed to arrive in Florida on Thursday. On Saturday, the boxes in the Florida storage container are supposed to be moved onto the shipping container. As of Wednesday morning, the arrival of the shipping container is being delayed by one day. Please pray that it doesn’t get delayed beyond that. Also, please pray that there will be enough manpower to move the heavy boxes from the storage container and onto the shipping container. Edited to add: the shipper had to change us over from having the container all weekend - so we could take our time loading it - to having just a two hour window to load (with $200 in extra charges for every hour after that). Please pray we are able to get this changed back!

Here’s the thing: Sowers4Pastors understands that people who've been hit by a hurricane have bigger things on their minds than the S4P shipping container. The timing stinks! But loading the shipping container is still a job that has to be done if children in Honduras are to receive their backpacks in time to begin a new school year. Similar circumstances were at play when Allen arrived in a rental truck filled with boxes that had to be moved into the storage container. People were dealing with cleanup from Hurricane Ian. Allen was grateful for both the help he received and for the fact that he was able to help with some cleanup efforts.

Oh, and to make matters more interesting, the Maryland shipping container is also expected to have a run-in with Nicole. By the time she gets to Maryland, she should be a tropical storm instead of a hurricane. 

2021 loading in Florida

Sowers4Pastors has been involved with the shipping of containers for many years now. And, as Allen pointed out, “Every container seem a bit more difficult than the one before it. There is an onslaught of red tape that we have been receiving to get a container through customs.” He also explained, “We started this whole process almost an entire month earlier than usual this year.”

Trish jumped in with the reminder that there’s a limit to how early they can start the paperwork. If they file it too early, it could expire before the containers arrive. It’s a bit like an intricate dance. Timing is everything.

Allen mentioned that even some visiting team members have had difficulty clearing customs with donation items they’ve brought in their suitcases. Allen also spoke of the gentleman in Ohio whose organization donates food to Sowers4Pastors. That organization ships food all over the world and he has reported that the cost of shipping to Honduras is 2nd only to shipments going to Haiti, in this hemisphere. Sowers4Pastors and anyone else trying to get a container into Honduras is forced to pay government fees. They are being charged extra by shipping companies because the shippers know there’s a good chance their containers will be tied up in customs. 

“We are asking people to pray that we don’t get hit with any undue delays,” Allen said. “We’re also getting ready to start working on shipping two containers of food in the not-so-distant future.”

As you pray for everyone in the path of Hurricane Nicole, please remember to pray for the backpacks. Those backpacks are really so much more than meets the eye. Each backpack represents the opportunity for one child to attend school. Sowers4Pastors needs to have the backpacks in hand before teams start arriving in the middle of January in order to distribute them. The sorting process takes a while, so it would be phenomenal if S4P had the contents from the shipping containers before Christmas. 

 - posted by Christi

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