Getting The Goods To Cuba

Crowley Maritime Corporation says it expects to resolve issues that kept one of its ships from making a precedent-setting delivery of humanitarian goods directly to Cuba.

The Jacksonville, Fla., shipping company said that "unforeseen difficulties" had prevented the planned Saturday delivery.

Mark Miller, an official with the company, declined to say why the ship was not allowed to drop off the shipment of goods.

"Crowley was in full compliance with all U.S. and Cuban government regulations in order to make this port call," Miller said in a statement. "However some further discussions with the Cuban government will be required prior to scheduling the next regular sailing. Crowley fully expects to have these open issues resolved in the near future."

Cuban officials have not yet commented on the matter.

Congress has loosened the trade embargo to Cuba and now allows the limited sale of food and agricultural products to the island. Humanitarian shipments of goods had previously been allowed, but usually took place through third countries. Catholic Relief Services, based in Baltimore, routinely sends donations to Cuba via Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the goods are then put upon Cuban vessels for delivery.

Crowley was the first American company to receive a federal license to deal directly with the Cubans. It hopes to resolve the financial issues and, depending upon demand, start making regular cargo delivery stops.

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