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Months after Sandy struck, Evergreen at last returning to its headquarters

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Evergreen Shipping Agency is returning to its Jersey City headquarters, seven months after damage by Hurricane Sandy forced temporary relocation.

The cargo shipping business resumes Friday at One Evertrust Plaza. Evergreen Shipping spokeswoman Barbara Yeninas said the work force is eager to return home, given adversity the company has endured since the fall.

"It's a bad story with a good ending," Yeninas said.

Yeninas said flooding from the October storm damaged custom-made generators in the building's basement, making the headquarters inoperable. An estimate on the damages was not immediately available.

Despite the disruption, Yeninas said the business continued to function with limited trouble. After spending about a week in a nearby DoubleTree, Evergreen found vacant space at an eight-story building at 95 Green St., large enough to house the company's 200 or so employees.

Yeninas said the company coped well given the initial circumstances of working out of a hotel until more stable facilities were secured.

"Everyone went back to work," Yeninas said. "It's incredible, the work ethic at Evergreen. Anyone could have said, 'We don't want to work under these conditions.' Everyone was just wonderful."

Evergreen Shipping temporarily leased the Green Street location, which Yeninas said was also close enough that the company was able to maintain its parking lot. The company began working there Oct. 29.

"It's amazing that we were fortunate to get that space and to have everyone move in a about a week," Yeninas said. "Everyone at Evergreen just rolled with the punches."

The Port of New York and New Jersey temporarily shut in Sandy's wake but otherwise cargo shipments mostly resume as normal, Yeninas said.

"The company never missed a step, in terms of taking care of customers," Yeninas said. "Everyone was on their cellphone. Business carried on without a blip, which was just amazing."

The company said there will be no business disruption in the move back to headquarters. E-mail addresses and telephone numbers remain the same. The generators are fully repaired and will be stored in a less vulnerable location, Yeninas said.

The 17-floor building at Evertrust Plaza has about 30 more tenants. Yeninas said the company, which owns the headquarters, expects most tenants to return in the coming weeks.

The Jersey City site is the North American headquarters for the global $2 billion shipping conglomerate based in Taiwan. Evergreen employs about 10,000 worldwide.

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