Short sea shipping in the US?


#1

In another thread we have been OT on this subject. The consensus appears to be that it would be desirable to develop efficient Short Sea Shipping in the US, but a lot of things stand in the way of developing it. Even MARAD appears to favour it, but that doesn’t result in any meaningful action, apparently.

Some time ago(on a Saturday)I watched a small coaster arriving in port to discharge a few pallets of cargo. There were two men seen to be active on board and one man waiting on the wharf. Here is the operation I observed:
The AB set out a spring line at the bow and the Master/Mate kept the engine going dead slow ahead.
The side gate was opened hydraulically by pressing a button somewhere and adjusted itself to the height of the quay side.
The AB jumped on a forklift in the hold to bring the first pallet onto the lift.
The man on the wharf opened the door to the warehouse and brought out another forklift to pick the pallet off the lift and get it into the warehouse.
This was repeated a dozen times or so in abt. half an hour, whereupon the the side gate was closed, the spring line let go and the vessel was on her way to the next port, which could be a few hours, or even minutes away.

In this case no crane lifting involved, which would probably require one more person in activity on deck.(The Master/Mate would come down from the wheelhouse?)

I did not take any pictures it was after dark, but here is picture of the side gate arrangement on another vessel:

A few days I took this picture of a typical Short Sea Vessel tradinf in the North Sea, Baltic and along the Norwgian Coast(not the same) laving port:


Here is brief specs as shown on Marine Traffic: http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:313526/mmsi:259120000/imo:9418781/vessel:WITH_JUNIOR
The crew is six persons, all with Forklift and Crane operator certificates.

I don’t say that this is the type of ship that would be best suited for Short Sea Shipping in the US.
Most likely something like this would be better: http://products.damen.com/en/ranges/combi-coaster/combi-coaster-2500
This one can serve both coastal, near seas and river trade, but does not have self-discharging capabilities.

A fleet with a variety of vessels for different types of cargoes, trading areas and capabilities should be the long term aim.

To succeed in establishing anything that can compete with trucks and railroads will require a change of rules, policy and mindset, which is probably a lot more difficult to achieve than to build up a suitable fleet of vessels and to find the manpower of qualified personnel to operate them safely.

Please let us hear some opinions and suggestions on this subject.

PS> There is an old joke about getting a job as an Engineer on a Coaster; “Must be able to cook, have forklift licence and know the coastal fairways well”.


#2

Short sea shipping has to be cheaper and more efficient than our Railroads. Seeing as how they are operating well under capacity, it is doubtful that will happen anytime soon.


#3

Longshoremen are the reason we don’t have short sea shipping. Lazy, overpaid Longshoremen. Don’t believe me? Do a little research.


#4
I dont want to generalize, but the average pay for longshoremen can be anything between 60k to 120k.  Depending on the union, contract, area and years of service.   And this number is just based on conversations with longshoremen from Jacksonville, Philly, New Jersey, New York,  Houston, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, California, Hawaii and other states/ possessions.

#5

[QUOTE=KrustySalt;184758]Longshoremen are the reason we don’t have short sea shipping. Lazy, overpaid Longshoremen. Don’t believe me? Do a little research.[/QUOTE]

In my example of a port visit above, how many Longshoremen would “required” to do the job??

PS> If you look at the Port Call list in Marine Traffic you can see that a 30 min. port stop is one of their longer operations for the With Junior.


#6

at least a dozen, plus line handlers, this for a terminal that gets public funding i.e. Port authority etc.

If you went to a private terminal you could avoid a lot of cumbersome longshore expenses but at the loss of infrastructure in many cases.


#7

Terminals without unionized longshoremen are few and far between. If you’re a US flagged vessel that’s non union, they have been known to refuse to work that vessel. It would be different if there was only 1 charge to handle that box, but there’s a fee to take it off the ship, but it on the short sea vessel then to take it off at the final port of call. That adds up. If you don’t want union labor, there’s a big expense to owning your own private terminal and as already stated, good luck with having a good infrastructure.


#8

There are a few short sea operations here on the east coast. Container barge runs on dedicated schedules. They depend on federal subsidies to make any money, in part to the fees for the multiple box movements. Others stopped operating due to loosing money, even with the subsidies.
I personally would like to run a fast ferry Ro-Ro from NY to points south, or LA north. Let the long haul truckers drive on/off and charge them for showers/food on the way.


#9

add in gambling and girls, you might have a viable business


#10

Maybe convert some of the tied up Larger OSVs to do the same , put people back to work, As far as the trucking part, More freight coming to more places on shore. (Where the big ones cant get into)which means more people needed to load and off load trucks, But that wont happen because it makes sense. This country was built by short sea trans,


#11

Make Subchapter S so the 6000 OSV license would still run the big OSVs lol


#12

I can put a box on a rail car in NY and it will arrive at its final destination in LA in less time than it would take to send it from NY to NIT terminal in Norfolk by barge. Unless the consumer is compelled to use Short Shipping they simply won’t. Canada has tried for years to get Highway H2O off the ground and they can’t seem to do it.


#13

Great pics and thread Ombugee - Thanks for the share.


#14

No way, how is that a good idea!


#15

we got this in LA. Private terminal as well. Near coastal trade, but designed for a specific route. I just like the versatility of it so I thought I’d put it up here.


#16

It appears that most here are talking about containers, while short sea shipping also involves bulk and liquid cargo.
By the way, why put your goods on pallets, put the pallets in a container, which is dependent on special trucks and cranes for handling at all steps in the transport process?

If you can fill a container yourself, fine and dandy. Otherwise you have to wait for other shippers to consolidate your cargo with others, or pay for a lot of dead space.

Let’s say you want to ship a single pallet from an inland factory to an inland destination somewhere in the US, or near waters, it would be easier and cheaper to load it on any old truck by a forklift, bring it to a port somewhere close where it would be loaded on a ship somewhat like the With Junior. Loading and stowing it by forklifts on shore and on board would be a simple operation. Repeat the operation in reverse at the other end. Simple, fast safe and cheap.

There is a very similar vessel on the Alaska run that can do this. She was recently built in the US, but use well proven foreign technology. It has been discussed here earlier, in yet another thread: http://gcaptain.com/forum/professional-mariner-forum/18271-coastal-transportation-build-240-coastal-standard.html

Both vessels are designed to carry both dry and frozen cargo, pallatized, or in Containers and to handle loading/discharging by own means, independent of port facilities. This improve safety and efficiency over loading everything on barges, or old converted Army Transport vessels, by a very large margin.

Here is full specs of With Junior, but unfortunately in Norwegian: http://www.jps.no/35530/3973/34677-53985.html
Google Translate MAY be able make a reasonably understandable translation.


#17

[QUOTE=lm1883;184781]I can put a box on a rail car in NY and it will arrive at its final destination in LA in less time than it would take to send it from NY to NIT terminal in Norfolk by barge. Unless the consumer is compelled to use Short Shipping they simply won’t. Canada has tried for years to get Highway H2O off the ground and they can’t seem to do it.[/QUOTE]

Cross country I can agree but North to South via either coast or the Mississippi should be cheaper, if a bit slower. Cargo that doesn’t need to be anywhere extremely fast could save money by going via ship.


#18

[QUOTE=ombugge;184803]It appears that most here are talking about containers, while short sea shipping also involves bulk and liquid cargo.
By the way, why put your goods on pallets, put the pallets in a container, which is dependent on special trucks and cranes for handling at all steps in the transport process?[/QUOTE]

Largely because that’s already how most cargo going long distances is already moved in this country.

Also, bulk liquid is already moved cheaply by barge so there’s no issue there. We’re only talking about regular freight for a reason…


#19

They’ve been trying to perfect this technology since I was in middle school. Instead of buying LCS’s we should have taken that money and invested in this project. We prolly would have had a better return on investment.


#20

[QUOTE=ombugge;184803]It appears that most here are talking about containers, while short sea shipping also involves bulk and liquid cargo.
By the way, why put your goods on pallets, put the pallets in a container, which is dependent on special trucks and cranes for handling at all steps in the transport process?

If you can fill a container yourself, fine and dandy. Otherwise you have to wait for other shippers to consolidate your cargo with others, or pay for a lot of dead space.

Let’s say you want to ship a single pallet from an inland factory to an inland destination somewhere in the US, or near waters, it would be easier and cheaper to load it on any old truck by a forklift, bring it to a port somewhere close where it would be loaded on a ship somewhat like the With Junior. Loading and stowing it by forklifts on shore and on board would be a simple operation. Repeat the operation in reverse at the other end. Simple, fast safe and cheap.

There is a very similar vessel on the Alaska run that can do this. She was recently built in the US, but use well proven foreign technology. It has been discussed here earlier, in yet another thread: http://gcaptain.com/forum/professional-mariner-forum/18271-coastal-transportation-build-240-coastal-standard.html

Both vessels are designed to carry both dry and frozen cargo, pallatized, or in Containers and to handle loading/discharging by own means, independent of port facilities. This improve safety and efficiency over loading everything on barges, or old converted Army Transport vessels, by a very large margin.

Here is full specs of With Junior, but unfortunately in Norwegian: http://www.jps.no/35530/3973/34677-53985.html
Google Translate MAY be able make a reasonably understandable translation.[/QUOTE]

the vessel I posted does exactly that