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 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Bulk Carrier Trends

Scrap Metal Exporter Pens Terminal Agreement

Port Canaveral Scrap Terminal LLC (PCST), a bulk ferrous scrap exporter, has signed a lease with the Canaveral Port Authority to operate a terminal in the north cargo area at Port Canaveral.

US Rail Jams Force Rush to Roads and Rivers

U.S. coal-burning power utilities are being forced to turn to barges and more expensive trucks to move coal, desperate to shore up stockpiles left dangerously low

Latest Ocean-Going Shipbuilding Orders

Clarkson Hellas notes in its latest 'S&P Weekly Bulletin' shipbuilding orders placed in the dry bulk, tankship, gas carrier and containership sectors, as follows: Dry

Workboats

MN 100: Horizon Shipbuilding, Inc.

13980 Shell Belt Road Bayou La Batre, AL 36509 E-mail: trshort@horizonshipbuilding.com Website: www.horizonshipbuilding.com President and General Manager: Travis R.

MN 100: Kvichak Marine Industries, Inc.

469 NW Bowdoin Place Seattle, WA 98107 Telephone: 206 545 8485 E-mail: sales@kvichak.com Website: www.kvichak.com CEO/President: Keith Whittemore Number of

Brazil AHTS Contract Breakthrough for Havyard

Havyard says it is to deliver the ship design and equipment for four anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels that are to be built and operated by the Brazilian

Dredging

DoD Award Dredging, Ship Maintenance, Charter Contracts

US Department of Defense informs of placement of contracts for Chesapeake Bay dredging, dry-docking of USS Pearl Harbor, and charter of surface escort vessels. Details as follows: 1.

Royal IHC Starts Building EasydredgeTM 2700

Royal IHC (IHC) is constructing the first vessel in its range of competitively priced standard trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHD). It has started to build

Restoring the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

Significant challenges often require a team effort. Restoring the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary is one of them. A group of professionals from the Army Corps of Engineers,

Logistics

No Sign of Ultra-Large Containership Mega Hubs: Analysis

Contrary to the views of some in the industry, Ultra Large Container Vessels are continuing to call at multiple North European ports per loop and are not concentrating on a mega-hub,

Clarksons PLC Perform Strongly in 1H 2014

Leading shipping services group, Clarksons PLC reports strong strong financial performance in the first half of 2014. Financial Results Clarksons increased revenues by 25% to £111.

Dentressangle Acquire U.S. 3PL Provider Jacobson

France's Norbert Dentressangle says it has completed the previously announced acquisition of all the shares of privately held U.S. third party logistics (3PL) provider,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair
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: 0.4421 sec (2 req/sec)