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Breakbulk April 2017

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28 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE APRIL 2017 BRIEFS n PORT ARTHUR EXPANDS BREAKBULK OPERATION PORT ARTHUR , TEXAS, expects to start work later this yea r on a 1,600 -foot wharf extension, a 235,000-square-foot warehouse, and additional railroad tracks to expand the port's capacity to handle wood pulp and other breakbulk cargo. Local voters last year approved a $90 million bond issue that includes funding for the improvements. Con- struction will begin after preliminary drainage work and is expected to take about two years, said Anthony Theriot, the port's director of trade development. "We're excited about it," Theriot said. "This definitely will help us go after new business." Port Arthur is one of the primary US ports for imports of wood pulp. Theriot said wood pulp volume, mostly from Bra- zil, is on pace to exceed the 282,000 metric tons during the port's most recent fiscal year, which ended last July 31. The port's wood pulp volume was 294,000 tons in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year. Other cargoes include iron and steel, dry bulk, military cargoes, bagged and baled breakbulk cargoes, exported wood pellets, and project shipments, mostly for nearby oil refineries and petrochemical plants. The port was the main gateway for project cargo used in a major expansion at Port Arthur's huge Motiva refinery in 2013 and 2014. Port Arthur currently has 3,102 feet of berth space with 100-foot-wide aprons, 518,000 square feet of covered warehouse space, and 18 acres of paved open storage. The port has direct rail service from Kansas City Southern Railway, which has a switching yard adjacent to the port, and from Union Pacific Railroad through UP's reciprocal switching agreement with KCS. The vast majority of the port's cargo moves by rail, Theriot said. Port Arthur's last major expansion, in 2000, increased railcar capacity to 150 cars on three wharf tracks, 80 cars on two shed tracks, and 150 cars in a six-track storage yard. Last year, the port completed the addi- tion of 5,100 feet of track, providing space for unit trains for military shipments and more rail storage space for other cus- tomers. "You can't have enough tracks," Theriot said. n OCEAN7 PROJECTS, IKONSHIPS MERGE MULTIPURPOSE FLEETS D E N M A R K- B A S E D M U LT I P U R P O S E A N D heavy-lift carriers Ocean7 Projects and Ikonship have merged their fleets in the latest example of consolidation involving breakbulk and project operators. The merger combines Ikonship's six ships with Ocean7's fleet in an operation that will have more than 20 ships and will operate under the Ocean7 brand. The fragmented multipurpose ves- sel market has had several mergers and acquisitions during the last year, includ- ing Zeaborn Group's recently announced acquisition of the business of fellow Ger- man operator Rickmers-Linie. Vessels in Ocean7's expanded fleet have capacities ranging from 1,250 to 17,500 deadweight tons. They feature open- hatch designs for shipment of oversize cargoes, and long single hatches allow- ing below-deck transport of cargoes up to 88 meters long. The ships have speeds of up to 17 knots and can operate at shallow drafts. Kolding, Denmark-based Ocean7, has branches in Germany, Spain, and Italy. Its ships have capacities of 1,250 to 6,300 metric tons, and several ships have two 150-ton- capacity cranes. Ikonship's six vessels have capacities of 7,950 to 17,500 dwt. n SPLIETHOFF CONTRACTS FOR SIX 18,000-DWT. SHIPS AMSTERDAM-BASED MULTIPURPOSE SHIP oper- ator Spliethoff Group has signed a contract for construction of six geared 18,000-dead- weight-ton multipurpose vessels at China's Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding. Dubbed the new R-Class, the ships are designed in accordance with the Polar Code, and are "highly suitable for trading in remote areas such as the Arctic," the company said. The ships are scheduled for delivery in two-month intervals beginning in January 2019. Design details include the location of the navigation bridge at the bow end and a hold length of 100 meters (328 feet), which make the ships handy for stowage of out- size project loads such as windmill blades on deck or in the hold. They also will be equipped with heavy- lift gear, although Spliethoff did not provide details about the safe working loads. The vessels will feature scrubber tech- nology, which will allow them to burn higher-sulfur fuel grades in emission con- trol areas and globally after global sulfur caps on marine fuels take effect in 2020. According to German ship broker Toepfer Transport's latest multipurpose and project carrier report, Spliethoff's fleet of 59 ships ranks third among the global operators of multipurpose ships with minimum 100-metric-ton lifting capacity. Spliethoff provides worldwide tramp and scheduled liner sailings, with a focus on the Atlantic, connecting North Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Americas.

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