The Corporation’s interest in Ocean Dry-Bulk Shipping consists of a joint interest in two ocean-going self-unloaders and direct ownership of four wholly owned ocean-going self-unloading vessels.
The six ocean self-unloaders are part of an ocean going self-unloader fleet, the largest of its kind, providing ocean going self-unloader transportation services.
The three major commodities carried by ocean self-unloaders include coal for power generation, crushed aggregates for construction and gypsum for wallboard manufacturing.
Coal transportation for power generation represents the largest single market segment served by ocean self-unloaders. Recently coal shipments have been reduced due to the lingering impact of the North American recession for the demand for electricity and increased competition from natural gas. Notwithstanding these adverse impacts, the movement of coal for power generation continues to be an important market segment for ocean self-unloaders. It is expected that coal imports into the U.S. will increase in the coming years and growth in Central and South American coal requirements is expected to increase as these regions invest heavily in their infrastructure.
Aggregate product transportation remains the second largest market segment served by ocean self-unloaders. The third largest market segment served by ocean self-unloaders is gypsum. Housing starts in the U.S. have leveled off but remain well below pre-recession levels. Continuing economic recovery is expected to lead these sectors slowly back to levels approaching historic norms.
Ocean self-unloaders also provide transportation services for the steel industry and for salt shippers. Markets are centered in North and South America; however, activities can be worldwide. Service is provided under long-term contracts to leading companies in each sector.
Vessel management and maintenance is outsourced to world class ship management companies. Technical experts employed by the Corporation’s subsidiaries and its partners maintain oversight responsibilities for the ocean shipping fleet. The Corporation and its ship managers continue to focus on productivity, operations excellence, safety, security and environmental protection.