Horizon Lines, Inc., the domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics company, celebrated 50 years of service in Puerto Rico at an event for customers, vendors, labor leaders, government officials and staff held at the company’s San Juan marine terminal. Speakers at the ceremony included Horizon Lines’ John V. Keenan, President; Jacob M. Wegrzyn, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Puerto Rico Services; and Puerto Rico Port Authority Marine Bureau Chief, Edwin Rodriguez.

On August 5, 1958, at the same location, the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corp. FAIRLAND docked and unloaded the first-ever “Sea-Land” containers in Puerto Rico, as reported by the Journal of Commerce shipping newspaper that day.

The FAIRLAND converted C-2 type freighter was one of the first “containerships” put into service by industry innovator Malcom McLean. McLean would later change the name of Pan-Atlantic Steamship to Sea-Land Service Inc., and go on to invent the container shipping industry as we know it today. Horizon Lines is the US domestic ocean shipping descendent of Sea-Land. The FAIRLAND and Puerto Rico will always play central role in that history.

“Sea-Land’s focus on serving the island of Puerto Rico never wavered,” said John V. Keenan, President of Horizon Lines, LLC, told attendees. “At Horizon Lines, our loyalty to serving the island - to providing anything people may need to live and work; to promote the growth of Puerto Rico’s economy ’ is stronger now than ever.”

Mr. Keenan outlined several significant investments Horizon Lines is making in Puerto Rico, even as the island’s economic growth has slowed in recent years. Horizon has invested more than $10 million in its San Juan terminal development project, creating improvements that have increased efficiency and reduced turn times for truckers by 20%. When the entire terminal renovation project is complete, Horizon will increase its terminal capacity in San Juan by 30% to more than 8,700 feu.

With the Horizon NAVIGATOR as his backdrop, Keenan told attendees that the NAVIGATOR and sister ship TRADER were moved into the Puerto Rico trade this year, offering increased capacity to serve market needs well into the future. The larger ships offer more space for refrigerated cargoes, such as pharmaceuticals and food, and special handling capacity for project freight.

Keenan also announced that Horizon approved a major investment in new technology that will allow pharmaceutical companies to not only track shipments in real-time door-to-door, but also monitor the temperature and security of products inside the container. Horizon is using leading-edge GPS and cellular tracking technology, together with sophisticated sensors inside each container, to offer this service to customers. The solution was engineered by Horizon Logistics Technology, a division of Horizon’s logistics management arm, formed from the former Horizon Services Group subsidiary.

“So we ask ourselves during the current economic slowdown who will be best positioned to lead the market when economic growth returns? The answer is Horizon Lines,” Keenan said. “We welcome the challenges at Horizon Lines because we know from experience that working together with our customers and partners, we can succeed.”