LEADING INLAND OPERATORS SPEAK OUT
Barge Operators Assess Impact Of OPA And Future Of The Industry The repercussions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 have been felt by the entire marine industry, but no where more acutely then in U.S.
inland waterway and coastal transport operations. Unlimited liability, escalating carrier insurance, and mandated equipment modifications are j u s t part of the onus of OPA t h a t operators must bear. To more fully assess the impact OPA 90 has had and will have on future inland and coastal water transportation operations, MARITIME REPORTER conducted interviews with some of the largest and most influential operators in the brown water market.
The following is a brief look at some of their insightful comments on the Oil Pollution Act, the Clean Air Act and the near term future of the industry.
The Impact Of OPA "The enactment of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 will have effects on different parts of the country.
How these effects manifest themselves over the long term will certainly impact our business," said Raymond Hickey, president and chief operating officer of Tidewater Barge Lines, Inc., Vancouver, Wash.
"We have called OPA, 'The Act of Emotion.' A law irrespective of differing regional product and transportation characteristics." Tidewater operates along the Columbia/Snake River system in the Pacific Northwest. The company barges clean or refined petroleum products along a short—465 miles— inland river, making their operations extremely sensitive to cost increases.
"The question that concerns us," said Mr. Hickey, "is, 'Are we going to be competitive with other modes [of transportation] after passing along costs associated with OPA compliance to our customers in a recessionary environment?'" According to the company's statistics, tugs and barges haul about 12 percent of the nation's freight for about 2 percent of the cost.
"If you have 3,500 tons of grain, you'll need 116 trucks or 35 rail cars to move it. All I need is one tug and barge," he said "The Oil Pollution Act has and will continue to affect Dixie Carriers' operations. In many instances, the effects of OPA 90 will be positive because operators will be forced to more carefully attend to their business.
Conformance with the requirements of OPA has caused Dixie Carriers to continue to validate the adequacy of its own operating procedures and has increased our costs," said J.H. Pyne, president of the Houston, Texas, water transportation firm.
Dixie Carriers, Inc. and its marine transportation subsidiaries comprise Houston-based Kirby Corporation's marine transportation segment.
Dixie's Inland Division, operating inland tank barges primarily along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Houston Ship Channel and the Mississippi River and its tributaries, has a fleet of 123 barges and 47 towboats.
Dixie's Offshore Division, operating among ports along the Gulf of Mexico, as well as ports in the Caribbean Basin and along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, transports dry bulk and liquid cargoes using eight barges, eight tugboats and one shifting and fleeting boat.
Brent Transportation, another Dixie company, operates an inland fleet of 61 barges and 18 towboats.
Mr.Pyne sighted the areas of increased crew training, equipment modifications (to comply both with the OPA double-hull requirement and Clean Air Act for vapor control), refinement of emergency spill response plans, compliance audits and spiraling insurance premiums. Dixie will spend in excess of $5 million for vapor control equipment alone in 1992.
"The Oil Pollution Act has and will continue to have a significant impact on our fleet," said Fred C.
Raskin, president of the Cincinnati- based Ohio River Company.
"We have over 40 single-skin tank barges that handle refined petroleum products, and current legislation will require their retirement/ replacement by 2015." Mr. Raskin also pointed out t h a t general operations in both the dry and liquid cargo areas will be impacted by spill contingency plans, as well as additional training and licensing requirements.
Looking Ahead Although Mr. Pyne thought business conditions would be flat for 1992, he predicted better conditions in the years ahead.
"Looking beyond 1992, we are very optimistic about our business. For the first time since the late 1970s, the inland tank barge fleet is in balance. Other t h an pipelines, which require higher dedicated volume than barges, marine transportation will continue to remain the most cost efficient method of moving bulk commodities between U.S. coastal and inland ports." Mr. Raskin of Ohio River Co., however, thought conditions in the industry would improve this year.
He believed a return to more normal weather and economic conditions coupled with a resumption of grain exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Republics of the Soviet Union) would help make 1992 a "good year." "The stability of riverborne grain demand will be strongly affected by the level ofU.S. exports to CIS, which in t u rn is heavily influenced by the amount of loan credit the United States is willing to provide," said Michael C. Hagan, president and chief operating officer, American Commercial Lines, Inc. "Current governmental actions suggest the CIS will continue to receive U.S.
agricultural aid," continued Mr.
Hagan. "Based upon that assumption, American Commercial Barge Lines, Inc. anticipates 1992 barge grain demand to improve slightly over 1991 volume. However, wide fluctuations in spot grain freight rates will probably continue." Clean Air Act & Coal Transportation "The Clean Air Act amendments will alter coal transportation patterns and alternatives," said Mr.
Hagan. "As sources of coal shift, inland river operators are wellpositoned to benefit from the changing shipper requirements. With a number of river-served utility plants being affected by Phase I of the C AA amendments, river trasnportation patterns will result in potentially longer hauls, further straining equipment capacity.
"We anticipate a solid 5 to 7 percent increase in export coal tonnage over 1991 volumes, driven principally by increasing demand for U.S.
steam coal exports," stated Mr.
Hagan. "The continued growth in export coal demand should attract covered barges normally used in the grain trade." Mr. Hagan also believed that domestic coal activity would improve moderately over last year, posting a 1 to 2 percent growth rate.
Fleet, Operation Expansion In 1992, Dixie Carriers plans to take delivery of the last three of a series of twelve 29,000-barrel inlandchemicaltankbarges.
Thecompany has also announced its intended acquisition of two inland tank barge operators, Sabine Towing & Transportation Company and Ole Man River Company. With these acquisitions, the Dixie fleet will consist of268 tank barges and 104 boats.
For 1992, Tidewater plans to put into operation, a solid waste program, transfer station, container yard, barge transportation and landfill, three new wood chip barges, a second wood chip loading facility, expand its container operation at Boardman, Ore., and complete the construction of a new floating repair service for Tidewater Barge.
The Ohio River Co. is currently building about 150 dry cargo hopper barges at its Port Allen, La., facility.
Other stories from March 1992 issue
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- Atlas Wins $10.8 Million Contract For Main Galleys On Carnival Superliners page: 6
- Call For Papers ForASNE DDG-51 Technical Symposium page: 8
- ILU Asks Speed-Up In Use Of Electronic Claims Systems page: 8
- Southwest Marine Celebrates 15 Years Of 'Crafting Quality' page: 9
- Surge In Orders, Output Reported By Chinese Yards page: 9
- FELS Launches Second A.P. Moller Rig page: 9
- Tanker Supply, Demand Profitability To 1996 page: 10
- Bisso Completes Four-Year Bollinger Contract; Successfully Lifts USS Aquila PHM-4 page: 11
- Kirby Corp. Signs Agreement To Buy Sabine Towing page: 12
- McDermott Awarded Exxon Contract For Harmony And Heritage Installation page: 12
- United Ropeworks Offers Free Color Brochure On Trevira Polyester Rope page: 12
- AWO ANNUAL page: 13
- LEADING INLAND OPERATORS SPEAK OUT page: 16
- Construction & Repair Activity Up At Small And Medium Size Yards page: 18
- Canada's Largest OSRV Designed By MARCO page: 21
- P&O Orders First Superliner For British Cruise Market From Meyer Werft Shipyard page: 23
- MarAd Approves Application To Sell Cargo Vessels page: 24
- Alan C. McClure Associates Develops Line Of 36-Foot Workboats page: 24
- Inspection Crackdown Planned By Ship Insurers page: 29
- Ship Gaming, Consolidator Bonding Legislation Approved By House page: 29
- IMO Expected To Finalize Double Hull Rules page: 30
- Bulker Life Extension To Be Performed By Hyundai Mipo page: 30
- Oyster Contamination Prompts Publication Of Discharge Rules page: 30
- Lindenau Delivers Largest Double-Hull Tanker Under German Flag page: 31
- Luxury Tax Repeal Would Be Boost To Boat Builders page: 32
- Values For Secondhand Tankers Rise In Fourth Quarter Of 1991 page: 32
- Mid-Deck Design In Doubt, Afterliests At Navy Research Center page: 32
- Ports '92 Conference To Be Held July 20-22 In Seattle, Wash. page: 35
- Japan-U.S. Effort To Explore Offshore Desert Storm Plaque Presented To Peck & Hale For Outstanding Support page: 35
- Murphy Offers Free Brochures On Alarms, Controls, Switches page: 36
- MarAd Awards Funds To N.Y. Maritime For Simulator Purchase page: 36
- OUTSTANDING CRUISE SHIPS page: 37
- Secondary Control Used By Rexroth To Supply Shipboard Electricity page: 41
- Wijsmuller Acquires Management Contract For Russian Heavy-Lifters page: 42
- ASNE 6th Annual Naval Logistics Symposium page: 43
- Radio Holland Introduces New Kelvin Hughes Integrated Bridge System In New York page: 43
- Inland Rivers Ports & Terminals Sets Dates For Annual Conference page: 48
- Hagglunds Denison Announces Improvements In Hydraulic Pumps page: 48
- New Sulzer Forms New Subsidiary In The Netherlands page: 48
- McElroy Machine Completes 14 Winches For U.S. Navy page: 51
- Coast Guard Improves Inspection Program To Detect Unsafe Tankers page: 53
- Bender Inc. Introduces New Ground Fault Detection Technology page: 54
- Wooster Offers Complete Literature Package On Non-Slip Safety Products page: 54
- SCLR Adds Two More Dockside Availabilities At Port Canaveral Facilities page: 55
- GPS Plots The Future Of Navigation & Communications page: 57
- New Low Weight, Low Cost Modules Delivered For North Sea Rig page: 59
- Lindenau Tanker Series Receives Two Nominations For International Awards page: 60
- Esgard's 'Bio Kote' Protects And Is Environmentally, Ecologically Safe page: 60
- GMDSS Historic Change In Maritime Safety Communications page: 61
- NAVIGATION & COMMUNICATIONS page: 64
- Special Seaward Fendering Installation At St. Croix page: 73
- Harrington Metal Furnishes Specially Modified Nozzles For 'City of Pittsburgh' page: 74
- To Meet New Regulations, Metritape Introduces Deck Master Gaging System page: 74
- New Vessel Management Program Introduced By Watercom page: 77
- Two LNG Carriers Now In Layup To Be Reactivated page: 80
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- MAN B&W Diesel Engines Ordered For World's Most Powerful Containerships page: 84
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