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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Bulk Carrier Trends

Seaway Stakeholders File Suit Against US Coast Guard

Ports and vessel operators challenge what they call “flawed pilotage fees”   A coalition of U.S. Great Lakes ports, vessel operating companies and maritime trade

Roger Blough Salvage Underway

Salvage divers from DonJon-Smit plan to begin an underwater survey of the hull of 833-foot U.S. cargo vessel Roger Blough, which ran aground Friday afternoon on

BIMCO President Speaks on Dry Bulk's Road to Recovery

“Scrapping ships and no new builds is the fastest road to recovery for the dry bulk market” BIMCO President Philippe Louis-Dreyfus comments on BIMCO’s latest market

Workboats

Apply Now for the MN 100

The August 2016 edition of MarineNews, the leading voice in the North American workboat market, will feature 100 leaders and innovators, including workboat owners and operators,

Bay Shipbuilding Delivers ATB to Moran

Fincantieri Marine Group’s Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) has delivered the Articulated Tug Barge unit (ATB) Barbara Carol Ann Moran and the 110,000-barrel

Tech & Design Solutions for Modern Workboats

EPA Tier 4 regulations (for engines of 804 hp and higher) and propulsion advancements have many manufacturers and vessel designers changing course to adapt to new requirements and customer demands.

Dredging

Damen Delivers Floating Pump Station to Hamburg

Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has taken delivery of the Sauger III, a custom floating pump station by Damen Shipyards Group for supporting dredging operations. Situated

Canada Invests $289 Mln in Harbor Improvements

Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced that the Government of Canada is investing $289 million in small craft harbors across the country in 2016-2017.

Flaws Hinder US Harbor Maintenance Fund -Report

There exist serious flaws in U.S. infrastructure funding practices that hinder the maintenance and improvement of American ports and harbors, according to a new report,

Logistics

New OPDR Service Links Spain with Northern Europe

OPDR introduces new service: CAVA offers connection between the Spanish east coast, northern Europe and Saint Petersburg    OPDR announced its new CAVA service,

BIMCO President Speaks on Dry Bulk's Road to Recovery

“Scrapping ships and no new builds is the fastest road to recovery for the dry bulk market” BIMCO President Philippe Louis-Dreyfus comments on BIMCO’s latest market

Baltic Index Up On Higher Capesize Demand

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Tuesday helped by an increase in demand for capesize vessels.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair
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: 0.1770 sec (6 req/sec)