Conrad Shipyard: Strength in Diversity

By Greg Trauthwein, Editor
Friday, September 27, 2013
Conrad’s specialty is building barges.

Conrad Shipyard has been a fixture in the inland and offshore new construction and repair marine market for more than six decades. This year the Morgan City, La., company celebrates its 65th anniversary, and while much has changed since the company’s inception in 1948, many of the company’s core values stand strong, namely its adherence to building quality products.
Conrad specializes in the construction, conversion and repair of a wide variety of marine vessels for commercial and governmental customers. It has four shipyards – the main facility in Morgan City, two yards in Amelia, La., and a yard in Orange, TX – and a strong backlog in the newbuild, conversion and repair markets.
A recent addition to the Conrad stable, conveniently located adjacent to its Amelia, La., facility, it is dubbed “Deepwater South.” It is a new construction facility, an additional 50 acres, with the ability to build barges more than 300 ft. in length.
In overview Conrad has a very diverse operation, and an adherence to a philosophy that focuses on customer service. It’s focus on customer service and ability to spot new market opportunities make it a progressive, aggressive and capable competitor in the vibrant Gulf of Mexico region. “With four shipyards, we manage to keep capacity available to handle a diversity of projects,” said Robert A. Sampey II, Business Development Manager, Conrad Shipyard.
“We’ve kept on time delivery as one of our key points.”
Driven simultaneously by the need to replace aging petroleum barge tonnage and by the looming need to transport energy as a result of “fracking” activities in the Midwest, business for Conrad’s signature 30,000 barrel petroleum tank barge has been strong, according to Gary Lipely, Director of Sales & Marketing. “Our shipbuilding business is diverse and strong,” and some of the recent and current jobs include:
•    Pushboats
•    Tugs
•    LPG Barges
•    Tank barges
•     Liftboats
•    Deck Barges
•    Crane Barges

“That doesn’t include everything, but is a highlight of what we’re building across our four shipyards,” said Lipely.
 

Diversity is Key
While Conrad has built and maintained its reputation on its barge business, the diversity of its operation and continued eye towards new opportunities and markets keeps the company humming along. It, like the rest of the industry, is always looking for opportunities in the marine market. Sampey said that Conrad’s build strategy, which stresses diverse manufacturing capabilities and quick delivery cycles, will continue to be key to success in existing markets as well as emerging markets. “When something does come up, we have the capacity to handle short run projects, we’re going to have the building slots available to meet these short deliveries in the emerging market.”
As the energy profile of the United States continues to change, so does the prospects for marine equipment. The quick evolution of the shale gas market has been a boom for builders, suppliers and transporters. “When you look at it, it’s not only about the barges,” said Sampey, “We’re very interested in exploring all this market has to offer.”
In assessing the current status and market potential of its business, Sampey and Lipely put it simply: “We have had a very successful run over the last few years.”

Conrad Q1 ‘13 Results
In May Conrad Industries, Inc. announced its first quarter 2013 results and backlog. For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Conrad achieved net income of $5.9m and earnings per diluted share of $0.99 compared to net income of $3.2m and earnings per diluted share of $0.52 during the first quarter of 2012. The diluted shares for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 are 6m compared to 6.1m for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.
Conrad’s backlog was $125.5m at March 31, 2013 compared to $120.7 million at December 31, 2012 and $70.8 million at March 31, 2012.
 

(As published in the September 2013 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - www.marinelink.com)

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