Shipowners Begin Updating Fleets Under Jones Act

Tuesday, December 07, 1999
Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) recently contracted National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO) to build two new RoRo vessels for TOTE’s Alaskan service. The vessels will replace three smaller, older ships. This is the first of many expected orders placed by Jones Act ship owners to update aging fleets, according to Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA). The $300 million contract illustrates that investment in new, efficient tonnage does not add up to an increase in the cost of transporting American waterborne commerce. The cargo capacity of the two ships will equal that of three smaller vessels, which will be replaced. The cost savings to be realized in fuel, maintenance, and cargo handling efficiency, coupled with the greater cargo capacity, makes the new ships a sound investment for TOTE and its customers. “Shipbuilders of the American Shipbuilding Association are committed to designing and building the most efficient and safest ships in the world to serve the Jones Act trade of the United States. This historic contract demonstrates our U.S. shipbuilding superiority and the commitment of the U.S. maritime industry to maintain the Jones Act, which ensures that only the safest built and operated ships meet America’s waterborne commerce needs,” said Brown. The ships will be the most environmentally conscious liner ships ever built. The engines will be clean-burning marine power plants. The fuel will be stored in double-hull fashion, not adjacent to the ship’s skin, and the ships will have a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant and crew-generated trash disposal system. According to TOTE spokesperson Robert Magee, the greater cargo space, environmental safety, and efficiency of the news ships will “allow TOTE to continue to provide the quality service Alaskans have come to expect and will keep us on track to meet the needs of tomorrow.”

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