Thursday, December 17, 2015

US Supply Chain and Logistics Group Invests in Ocean Freight Infrastructure

Company Funds New Port Project, Reefer Containers and LNG Vessels
Shipping News Feature
US – PUERTO RICO – CENTRAL AMERICA – CARIBBEAN – As usual Crowley, the shipping and logistics group, has been keeping busy in the run up to the Christmas holiday. Last month the supply chain specialist’s Puerto Rican operation broke ground on its new $48.5 million construction project for a new pier at its Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan. The development is part of around $500 million the company is investing in services in the country which include two new state-of-the-art ships, the new pier, three new container cranes, new truck access gates, reefer plugs, new containers and container handling equipment.

Earlier this month the Crowley liner services group added 400 new, 40 foot, high cube, reefer containers to service the perishable trades with Central America and the Caribbean. All the new boxes are for delivery to Santo Tomas, Guatemala, directly from the manufacturing facility to accommodate the Central America’s heavy northbound reefer season, which is currently underway and will continue through to May 2016.

Since 2003, Crowley has invested over a quarter of a billion dollars in new cargo equipment for its liner services fleet. Today, the company operates more than 52,000 pieces of owned and leased intermodal equipment, including more than 22,015 chassis; 21,297 dry containers; and more than 3,916 refrigerated containers, all of which come in a variety of sizes and are strategically located throughout the United States, Central America and the Caribbean.

Along with many of its competitors Crowley has made a move toward liquid natural gas powered vessels and has just announced Eagle LNG as its preferred supplier for the company’s new LNG powered, Commitment Class ships, which will be delivered in 2017 for use on the US mainland to Puerto Rico trade. To support Crowley’s LNG needs, Eagle will build a natural gas liquefaction plant offering a capacity of 200,000 gallons per day (87,000 gallons per day initially) in Jacksonville. The state-of-the-art facility is slated to be operational by early 2017. Crowley’s John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico services commented:

“Crowley is proud to take a leadership position in the industry’s shift to cleaner-burning, natural gas fuel solutions. The partnership with Eagle LNG is an important first step in developing sustainable supply infrastructure to ensure these highly technical, environmentally friendly vessels operate to their full capability.”

The LNG plant is separate from the previously announced Eagle LNG Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) export terminal located along the St. Johns River, in Jacksonville, which will continue to focus on export markets in the Caribbean and Atlantic Basin. The supply agreement between Eagle LNG and Crowley will provide LNG fuel for the El Conqui and Taino, which are expected to be in service in the second quarter and fourth quarter of 2017 respectively.

The company says the Jones Act ships will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet, which has served the trade continuously and with distinction since the early 1970s. These new ships, will offer customers fast ocean transit times, while accommodating the company’s diverse equipment selection and cargo handling flexibility.