Bulk Transport Leadership: Dan Martin

By Susan Buchanan
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Dan T. Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Ingram Barge Company in Nashville, oversees all commercial aspects of the company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. He has served on the National Coal Council since 2005 and was Board Vice Chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board 2007 to 2010.

Drought and ensuing low river levels continue to affect the inland industry. Low water between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois has threatened traffic on the Mississippi River since December.

For months, dredging operations have slowed vessels at points along the river's course. Since December, a stretch at Thebes, Illinois, has been shut for much of each day as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers removes rock pinnacles. A panel of five executives weighed in on a host of topics regarding inland transportation as part of a round table discussion published in the February print edition of Marine News. Shown here are the comments of Dan T. Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Ingram Barge Company in Nashville:

How have reduced Mississippi River drafts have affected your operations, safety, and your bottom line?
Dan Martin: Barge transportation is the safest mode for moving bulk commodities. Faced with very challenging, operating conditions throughout the drought of 2012, Ingram continued to operate on the Mississippi River with stellar safety results. The necessity to frequently operate with drafts as shallow as 8 feet, when 10 feet is normal, certainly impacted our bottom line, with each foot of draft representing nearly a 200-ton loss of cargo. Our tow sizes, which normally consist of 30 to 35 barges, were often reduced to 20 or 25 barges. Together, these factors combined to make our operations much more costly and less efficient. That being said, we were able to transport cargoes for our customers in a very reliable fashion.

Is the Army Corps doing enough to facilitate Mississippi River transport?

Martin: The decision by the Corps to expedite the removal of rock pinnacles in the Thebes to Grand Tower, Ill. stretch has proven critical to allowing navigation to continue between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. Ingram and the entire navigation industry are grateful for the efforts of the Obama Administration, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and many other senators, members of Congress, and state governors, who have focused on the importance of maintaining barge traffic on the nation’s busiest water transportation artery. At the same time, we believe the Corps should be open to releasing more water from the Missouri River, if necessary, to permit operations at a nine-foot draft throughout the winter months. Without such assurance, we lack certainty that the nation’s most important waterway can continue to effectively move its commerce.

How will reduced barge traffic impact the national economy this winter? To what extent will rail and trucks be used instead of barges?
Martin: In the event of an actual closure of the river, nearly $7 billion in key products, including corn, soybeans, coal, petroleum, chemicals and other commodities, would be put at risk. We're aware that some shippers are using rail cars and trucks to move their products but we have not seen this on a widespread basis. Trucks really are not a viable option for the volumes that move by water, and there are limited rail cars available to fill the gap.

How difficult will it be to comply with the impending Subchapter M rule? Will we see more consolidation within the industry because of it?
Martin: We're hopeful that the regulations, when finally issued, will reflect a balanced, reasonable approach that most operators will be able to comply with. Certainly, the regulations will create more complexity, and some smaller operators may decide that these new burdens are sufficient motivation to exit the business.

Is the inland industry prepared for increased traffic from the Panama Canal?

Martin: The barge industry is definitely ready but we’re a bit concerned that  dredging, needed to deepen our nation’s ports to the necessary 50-foot depth, will not be completed in time to allow post-Panamax vessels to fully access the New Orleans to Baton Rouge corridor.

Maritime Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Bulk Carrier Trends

US Plans to Shut Royalty Loophole on Coal Exports

U.S. coal companies will no longer be able to settle royalties at low domestic prices when they make lucrative sales to Asia according to reforms proposed by the Interior Department on Friday.

Great Lakes Coal Trade Slows in November

Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2.6 million tons in November, a decrease of 3 percent from a year ago, as shipments were affected by weather-related delays,

Bulker Chief Engineer Convicted of Environmental Crimes

A chief engineer from the M/V Trident Navigator was convicted by a federal jury in New Orleans late yesterday after a week-long trial, of knowingly falsifying the

Workboats

MARAD Publishes US ATB, ITB Database

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) released what it is calling a first-of-its-kind public database that chronicles U.S.-flagged, privately owned domestic

New Chinese Shipyard Launches First Ship

The new shipyard facility of Honghua Offshore Oil & Gas Equipment Company in Jiangsu, China, has launched its first ship, an IMT982 Platform Supply Vessel. The vessel,

Damen Builds Tug, Dredger for Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan port authority Empresa Portuaria Nacional (EPN) is set to take delivery of two newbuilds from Damen Shipyards Group. Damen built both vessels, a

Dredging

Damen Builds Tug, Dredger for Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan port authority Empresa Portuaria Nacional (EPN) is set to take delivery of two newbuilds from Damen Shipyards Group. Damen built both vessels, a

Even 'Small' Vessels are Getting Bigger

The Shipowners’ Club is a mutual provider of P&I insurance that has throughout its 160 year history been dedicated to serving owners of small and specialist ships.

Container Volumes on the Rise in South Carolina

Container volume up 13 percent at South Carolina Ports Authority; Charleston benefiting from federal appropriations    The SC Ports Authority announced another

Logistics

Port of Houston Expecting Record Year

The Port of Houston Authority is expecting 2014 to close as a banner year for the port, with 34 million tons of cargo handled through November, Executive Director

Costa Rica Approves APM Terminals Project

Port operator APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, said on Friday Costa Rica's environment agency had approved the construction of its Moin Container Terminal project.

US Plans to Shut Royalty Loophole on Coal Exports

U.S. coal companies will no longer be able to settle royalties at low domestic prices when they make lucrative sales to Asia according to reforms proposed by the Interior Department on Friday.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.4928 sec (2 req/sec)