Maritime Memos October 2011
AMERICAN FEEDER LINES TO SAVE AVONDALE?
Fifteen months ago, AFL executed letters of intent for five ships at Aker Philly and five more at Bay Shipbuilding, but nothing happened. Now they want to build all ten at Avondale. Read the story in the New Orleans CityBusiness here. Oh dear. You know that a deal at Avondale is not going to happen and even if, by some miracle, it did, the ships would be expensive, poor-quality and late. It seems that there's nobody at AFL who knows anything about the U.S. shipbuilding industry. They've probably got one of those consultants who always tells the client what the client wants to hear. Maybe they should talk to Joe Pyne of Kirby. He knows more about the U.S. maritime industry than almost anybody and Kirby has even tried its hand at the coastal container shipping biz, with Osprey Line. And he's related to Percy Pyne, the fourth-generation Manhattan real estate mogul who's Chairman of AFL. October 27, 2011.
MATSON MOVES IN ON HORIZON'S CARGO
No sooner had Horizon made its announcement about dropping its USWC-Guam-China service than Matson was in there shilling for the cargo. Read its news release here. Yes, Matson can handle Horizon's Guam business. It would be nice to see someone new, but unlikely. The bigger and much more interesting question is how Matson, TOTE and the others will handle all Horizon's business, come the inevitable day when that great company folds. And there's the secondary question of what's going to happen to Trailer Bridge. October 25, 2011.
NO CHANGES, SAYS PEO LCS
Admiral Jim Murdoch, the PEO for the LCS program, recently told a press briefing “We don’t introduce any changes we don’t absolutely have to.” Read the story in Aviation Week here. Well, that's refreshing. Let's hope he can withstand the usual Navy pressures for more and more bells and whistles. October 25, 2011.
HORIZON LINES TAKES ANOTHER STEP TOWARD THE EXIT
The world's most incompetent liner operator is closing down its four-year-old USWC-Guam-China service - the Five-Star Express, they called it - and will lay up the five Korean-built ships that they bareboat-chartered for it. Read the announcement here. It's hard to imagine that they were losing more with the ships in service than it will now cost them in charter payments and lay-up expenses, but that's Horizon Lines for you. Down and out. October 25, 2011.
IT'S NOT JUST ME
Some of you may have noticed me binding on about the Navy messing around with ship type designations and class naming systems. Apparently I'm not alone in my frustration with the lack of consistency shown both by the Navy and its congressional overlords. The Congressional Research Service joined me on October 7, when Secretary Mabus gave an LST's name to a JHSV. Read its report here. October 24, 2011.
SECDOT GIVES KP ALUMNI THE FINGER
The Kings Point Alumni Association has published a video report of its recent meeting with Secretary LaHood. Click here to see it. Unfortunately, it doesn't tell us anything new, because the message from the Secretary was clear: (1) Admiral Greene will not be reinstated under any circumstances, and (2) the Secretary refused to provide any reasons why Admiral Greene was dismissed. In other words, eff off. Wonderful! Such inspiring leadership! Such warmth, such charm! Is everybody from Peoria like this? Somehow I doubt that the alumni are going to go quietly. Trafalgar Day, 2011.
MARAD TO APPROVE AFL'S USE OF FOREIGN-BUILT SHIPS
Reliable sources say that our brilliant Maritime Administrator is planning to approve a waiver of the Jones Act that would allow American Feeder Lines to bring four foreign-built containerships into the domestic-trade fleet. The deal supposedly includes a requirement to replace them later with US-built ships, but don't hold your breath. Remember Norwegian Cruise Lines? Everyone please call up Matsuda and/or LaHood and yell at them. Oh, right, you were going to do that anyway, weren't you? Trafalgar Day, 2011.
DOESN'T THE COAST GUARD HAVE ANYTHING TO DO?
I thought the Coast Guard was overworked and underfunded. But apparently there are those who have both the time and the budget to attend the USCG Innovation Expo in Tampa next week. After all, they wouldn't want to miss this session:
"Elevation Knowledge Management as a Critical Service Capability"
Learning organizations value institutional KM systems and culture facilitated by an organizationally appropriate portfolio of robust KM tools over isolated research initiatives, data repositories, and isolated knowledge pools. Effective and efficient enterprise wide KM embraces an overarching organizational strategy, broad organizational commitment, sufficient resources, and measurable links to core business processes and mission execution. This panel will explore the Coast Guard’s project to improve internal KM processes and elevate federated program centric tools into a service enabling enterprise-wide discipline that recognizes the inter-relationship of people, process and enabling technologies.
Important stuff. October 20, 2011.
HALIFAX AND VANCOUVER WIN CANADA'S SHIPBUILDING HANDOUT
The Canadian Government has followed through on its really stupid shipbuilding policy by selecting Irving's Halifax Shipyard and Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyard for C$33 billion of non-compete contracts to build ships for the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard. Although only marginally qualified, Halifax will build 15 frigates and 6 Arctic patrol ships, collectively valued at C$25 billion. The even less qualified Vancouver Shipyards will build