The 278-foot house barge Crimson Clover arrived Sunday night at Port-au-Prince, the first commercial vessel to reach the port since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The barge is just the beginning of the second wave of Haiti relief, delivering shipload quantities of food aid to augment the 24-hour airlift government and nongovernment agencies have relied on for the past week.
John Trestrail, agent for Crimson Shipping of Mobile, Ala., said the company"s Crimson Clover was expected to start today to discharge more than 100 20-foot containers at Port-au-Prince.
Meanwhile, Cap Haitian, the deepwater port on Haiti"s northern coast, was not damaged in the earthquake and appears to be the port of choice for landing most ocean cargo, said Richard Dubin, president of Haiti Shipping, which operates the container terminal.
?The Navy is there, Coast Guard is there, World Food Program is setting up operations,? Dubin said. ?It"s the only deepwater port available for containers.? He said he expects ships to begin arriving by week"s end, and said the road to Port-au-Prince was in good condition.
Trestrail said the Crimson Clover was already on the water when the earthquake struck, and was transporting cargo under a contract for 6,100 metric tons of food it won from the U.S. Agency for International Development two months ago.
In the last 72 hours, USAID had contracted with two other carriers to transport a total of 10,700 metric tons ? about 560 20-foot containers ? out of Lake Charles, La.