Rand Logistics, Inc. (Nasdaq:RLOG) announced the christening and commencement into service of the Jones Act compliant tug Defiance and the self-unloading barge Ashtabula. The articulated tug/barge vessel (ATB) was acquired on December 1, 2011.
Modifications required for Great Lakes service began in May 2012 and have now been completed. The vessel was originally scheduled for delivery in early August but was delayed due to complexities in the conversion process. The total invested cost of the ATB is substantially less than the new build cost of a similarly-sized Jones Act compliant vessel. This ATB unit is the Company's sixteenth vessel. The Ashtabula loaded sand in Brevort, Michigan for delivery to Buffalo, New York on its maiden voyage.
Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes, commented, "The Ashtabula is a versatile vessel that will augment our river class capabilities with sufficient carrying capacity to allow for increased market penetration in the mid-class vessel segment of the Great Lakes market. The introduction of this vessel into service demonstrates our continuing commitment and confidence in the future of our industry and our customers' growth prospects. The addition of the Ashtabula has allowed us to gain additional market share in several end markets. These market share gains will allow us to maximize the efficiency of our existing fleet. Despite a challenging economic environment, our fleet is fully booked for the balance of this season and the 2013 sailing season."