U.S. Shipping Partners has completed a
long-term time charter for employment of the second of its series of
articulated tug barges (ATBs) scheduled to be delivered in mid-2008. The
charterer, an investment grade company, will utilize this vessel in its
domestic coastwise trade in refined petroleum products and chemicals. The
first ATB in the series, scheduled for completion in April 2007, is covered
by contracts of affreightment in U.S. Shipping's U.S. flag chemical
transportation business. U.S. Shipping expects that these contracts of
affreightment will utilize substantially all of the first ATB's capacity
through June 2010. Upon delivery, U.S. Shipping expects both of these ATBs
to be financially accretive.
The ATB which is the subject of this charter is the first of a series to be constructed by Manitowoc Marine Group
(barge component) of Marinette, Wisconsin and Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (tug component) of Panama City, Florida. These ATBs feature a flexible cargo system capable of carrying a broad spectrum of refined petroleum products and chemicals, a fuel efficient main engine and a hull design which will allow service speeds generally in excess of standard ATB designs.