TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico News & Media

December 2020

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Happy Holidays- A note to our customers

Happy Holidays to you and your families!
This year has been one for the record books. As challenging as times may have been this year, we got through those times because of our partnerships and working with customers like you. On behalf of all of us at TOTE, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
From our very own homes to yours, we hope that your holiday season is filled with laughter and good health. I am looking ahead to 2021 with optimism and the wish to see many of you in person again in the new year.
Mike Noone
President, TOTE Puerto Rico

Veteran's Day Appreciation

With honor, respect, and gratitude we say Thank You to the men and women who have served in our U.S. Armed Forces.
We also send an extra heartfelt thank you to those in our TOTE family who have answered the call.
Thank you for your service. Click here for video.

TOTE PR Corporate Social Responsibility program gets certified for 2021

TOTE Puerto Rico is proud to support the communities we serve. Each year our company provides financial, in-kind and volunteer support to dozens of socio-economic and community-building organizations
Our Community Giving Principles
•We believe in supporting the communities in which we work and where our employees live.
•We strive to be excellent corporate citizens, ever mindful of our commitment to integrity, job safety, environmental stewardship, and giving back to the communities we serve.
•We encourage cross-group collaboration and freely share information about our charitable donations.
1st U.S. company awarded MVO8001 Certification for CSR
MVO8001 measures the framework in place to ensure a positive impact on all aspects of society, including economic, social and environmental. Specifically, the auditor looks at the processes and programs in place to improve the communities we serve through monetary and volunteer support.

Respiratory therapist receives Puerto Rico's 1st vaccine

A respiratory therapist who treated the first two COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Puerto Rico has become the first person in the U.S. territory to be vaccinated against the virus.
Alicea was immunized a day after FedEx planes carrying more than 16,500 Pfizer vaccine doses landed in Puerto Rico, with another more than 13,600 expected later this week.
The vaccine will be distributed to 65 hospitals around the island, according to Gov. Wanda Vázquez.
Overall, the vaccination process is expected to continue into mid-2021, with the government aiming to immunize 70% of Puerto Rico's population.
Officials have said that Puerto Rico’s National Guard has bought four freezers with the capacity to store 300,000 vaccine doses each. Read more here.

2021 Economic Outlook

Due to the fragility of the local economy, continued recovery from Hurricane Maria, emigration from the island, the 2020 earthquakes, and COVID-19, the unemployment rate is forecast to be 20% and it is estimated that 10,000 small businesses have been lost.  Counter measures include economic recovery post-Maria, federal funding for SNAP, NAP and Cares Act, federal reform, and the fiscal control board.

Private employment increased to 6,100 in July, likely reflecting the reopening of commercial activity rather than the creation of new jobs. No significant changes are expected for August and September.  This positive trend comes after a loss of 124,300 private jobs in April, rising by 19,900 and 23,600 in May and June respectively.  Pandemic-affected job losses continue to be high in some sectors: 30.4% in accommodation and food services, 25% in construction, and 13% in retail trade.

According to the most recently available information, 31% of the $49b allocated to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria disaster funds ($15.4b) have been disbursed.  Of the Community Develop Block Grant (CDBG) Funds, which account for 41% of the total, only $1.0b have been disbursed.  The process, though, has continued, with additional funds from FEMA and other sources being approved. The FOMB revised its previous estimates and flows of the disaster relief funding.  The surge in disbursements of CDBG funds was moved to fiscal years 2023– 2024, extending through 2032.

The unfolding recession and high unemployment is expected to depress consumption.  E-commerce adoption is likely to accelerate across a wide range of categories. Puerto Rico continues its trend towards a smaller and older population, with 2019’s 3.1m population expected to reduce by a further 100,000 by 2025.  This trend could be exacerbated by COVID encouraging further relocation to the US mainland.

Estudios Tecnicos projection models indicate negative growth of -1.1% in fiscal 2020.  Significant stimulus spending as well as continuation of the recovery process is expected to absorb most of the remaining COVID-19 impact in fiscal 2021, resulting in modest growth of .7%.  Boosts in construction investment, as well as disappearance of the coronavirus shock, are expected to reflect in significant growth for fiscals 2022 (1.5%) and 2023 (2.4%).  The growth acceleration in 2022 and 2023 is led by the inflow of CARES Act funding and an increase in investment in construction, as the greater disbursements of CDBG-DR funds takes place, and an improvement in the labor market is expected.  Much depends on how quickly federal CDBG-DR funds and others are disbursed and invested. There are multiple risks that will impact projections, including those related to the COVID-19 epidemic and policy changes at the federal level. The hurricanes, earthquakes and now the COVID-19 situation have generated needs and opportunities for economic activity.

December 21, 2020 – Update:  Democrats successfully fought for $13 billion to increase SNAP benefits by 15%, provide additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs, and to ensure college students have access to SNAP. This bill also dedicates $614 million for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico and the territories, allocates emergency funds for school and day care feeding programs and includes critical improvements to the P-EBT program. The bill also included $13 billion for direct payments, purchases and loans to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses due to the pandemic. It also includes funds to support the food supply chain through food purchases, donations to food banks, and support for local food systems.

Stay up to date with TOTE

Get more information about TOTE Puerto Rico on LinkedIn and Twitter. Stay up to date on our philanthropic efforts, get a behind the scenes look at the people of TPR, and up to date information on what is happening in our industry. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter at TOTE Maritime.