Hurricane Maria | NACS – Your Business – Disaster Preparedness, Relief & Recovery
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Advancing Convenience & Fuel Retailing

Hurricane Maria

​Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, making it the strongest hurricane to hit the island in more than 80 years. The Category 4 storm has caused massive destruction and knocked 100% of the power out across the entire island.

In the days following Hurricane Maria, Manuel Reyes, executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Chamber for the Marketing and Distribution of the Food Industry, said:

“This is truly a total disaster. Right now, the main problem is diesel distribution. Retailers have no electricity and operate with generators but without diesel they can’t. Neither can suppliers. The food will go bad and people are getting desperate. Government doesn't seem to have the ability to handle all that is going on and comprehend the need to establish difficult priorities.”

NACS has been in communication with people in Puerto Rico and the demand is highest for licensed drivers to move diesel fuel and other cargo on the island, fuel distribution equipment and bottled water. If you can offer assistance, contact NACS Director of Strategic Initiatives Carolyn Schnare directly at or (703) 518-4248.

Media Contact
Jeff Lenard at or (703) 518-4272

Updates from the Federal Government

  • On September 28, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) declared a state of emergency that warrants issuance of a Waiver of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for certain operators in Puerto Rico. The waiver was issued “to support the government of Puerto Rico in facilitating the transport of essential fuel.” Fuel transporters, however, must be “accompanied by a law enforcement or military escort” and they must maintain a copy of an Emergency Response Guidebook.  In addition, drivers must meet certain experience and licensing requirements and unloading must be overseen by a trained individual. The waiver is effective for seven days. 
  • ​The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an extension for certain states included in its August 31 Declaration of Emergency on September 29. Initially set to expire on the 30th, the declaration had removed various restrictions, including hours of service limitations, on drivers providing “direct assistance” to areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. FMCSA notes that emergency conditions “have not abated,” and so the agency is extending the waiver to address “ongoing emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of fuel products, including gasoline, diesel fuels, kerosene, jet fuel, aviation fuel, aviation gasoline, propane and home heating oil.” The waiver will be in effect until October 30, 2017, or for the duration of the emergency. States covered by the September 29 declaration include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. States for which the waiver was not extended are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) waiver for Puerto Rico to minimize or prevent disruptions with the supply of ULSD fuel for mobile nonroad generators and pumps used for emergency purposes.
  • ​On September 28, the Trump administration issued a Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico. “This waiver will ensure that over the next 10 days, all options are available to move and distribute goods to the people of Puerto Rico. It is intended to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke.

American Red Cross
NACS has partnered with the Red Cross to help facilitate collecting donations during the community's time of need. Go to to learn other ways to help.

Also, the private sector, together with Puerto Rico’s First Lady, has created the fund United For Puerto Rico And One America Appeal, which was formed by the five former U.S. presidents to assist victims of Harvey and Irma, will now cover Maria’s victims as well.