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 September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Bulk Carrier Trends

Dry Bulk Shipping Turmoil Set to Extend into 2016

Dry bulk shipping faces more earnings pain as a slowdown in commodities demand and a glut of ships are expected to pile on the pressure well into 2016, ship industry players said on Wednesday.

Weak Capesize Rates Depress Baltic Index

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Tuesday on weak demand for capesize vessels. The overall index,

Supramx Ship Delivered to Seanergy

Dry Bulk shipping company Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. announced today the delivery of a 56,819 dwt Supramax dry bulk vessel, renamed M/V Gladiatorship.   The vessel,


MAN 32/44CR Engine for Trawler Newbuild

Voyager Fishing Company, Ltd., based in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, has ordered a new trawler/purse seiner, designed by Salt Ship Design in Norway and to be built at Karstensens Skipsværft in Skagen,

Royal Thai Navy Orders Harbor Tug

The Royal Thai Navy has ordered a new 32-meter tug from shipbuilder Italthai Marine Limited of Thailand, announced the vessel’s designer, Robert Allan Ltd.   Italthai Marine,

Eastern Launches Tug for Suderman & Young

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. announced it has launched escort tug Triton for Suderman & Young Towing Company on September 11, 2015.   The launch ceremony


Port of Cleveland Scores Sediment Customer

The Port of Cleveland and its partner Kurtz Bros., Inc. have scored their first major user in the Port’s effort to market sediment for beneficial use.  Great Lakes Construction, Co.

Boskalis’ Fleet May Switch to Marine Biofuels

Boskalis today announced their collaboration with GoodFuels and Wärtsilä in a two-year pilot program to accelerate the development of truly sustainable, scalable and affordable marine bio-fuels.

IHC Services Secures Dredger Repair Contract

IHC Services, a subsidiary of Dutch shipbuilder and repairer Royal IHC, informs it has secured an order for a renovation project for a dredging vessel owned by Huta Marine Works Ltd in Saudi Arabia.


Ukraine Sees Smaller Maize Exports to China

Ukrainian maize exports to China under a $1.5 billion loan-for-grains deal could be significantly below an expected 2 million tonnes this year, as Beijing appears to want less of the commodity,

Box Shipping Eyes More Overcapacity, Financial Pain

Slowing global trade and a bloated orderbook of large vessel capacity mean that container shipping is set for another three years of overcapacity and financial pain,

Former Shipping Execs Indicted on Price-fixing

Three former executives of ocean freight shipping firms have been indicted for participating in a long-running price-fixing conspiracy, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.4565 sec (2 req/sec)