Monday, May 7, 2012

Top Story

Hybrid cargo vessel type could emerge in place of discontinued U.S. Northeast container service

In the wake of a discontinued Jones Act shipping service that launched nine months ago calling ports in Boston, Portland (Maine), and Halifax, is talk of the development of a hybrid cargo vessel that could be used to restore service there.

The Bangor [Maine] Daily News reported officials from the U.S. Maritime Association scheduled a visit to the International Marine Terminal at the Port of Portland just three days after American Feeder Lines announced it was discontinuing its service in the U.S. Northeast that had been utilizing containerships with 750-TEU capacity.

MARAD and the U.S. Department of Defense have reportedly have a preliminary design for an articulated tug barge with capacity for 500 TEUs at an estimated cost range of $30 million to $50 million compared to the $70 million to $125 million cost range for a larger containership.

The Port of Portland and at least one state legislator are hoping to convince MARAD to spend another $350,000 that would be needed to complete the ATB design.

“One thing that is going to make it easier to develop service to ports like Portland is a more efficient ship design that can be built in local yards at a low cost to make short sea shipping more economical,” said U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine in a statement.

“I’d like to see the Maritime Administration make the design of that ship a reality. It could go a long way to getting that service up and running again,” he said.

The proposed hybrid container vessel would reportedly be built by local shipyard Washburn & Doughty due to that company’s experience with building other types of ATBs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has reportedly approved a project to develop coastal shipping from Portland to the Port of New York.

For the full Bangor Daily News story:


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