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Featured Speeches & Interviews and Key Company News

Rob Grune, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Petroleum Services, Speaks with The Maritime Executive

07/23/2014 08:54 am


Crowley Maritime Corp.’s Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager of petroleum services, recently sat down for an interview with The Maritime Executive. He talked about the company’s new build initiative, recruiting mariners from the country’s maritime academies and the various business opportunities LNG offers. For the full story, click here

Video: Crowley Explains the Benefits of Switching to LNG for Industrial Consumers in the Caribbean

08/02/2013 12:18 pm


(Jacksonville, Fla., August 2, 2013) ­– Crowley Maritime Corporation's Greg Buffington, vice president of company subsidiary Carib Energy, explains the benefits of switching to reliable, safe, U.S.-exported liquefied natural gas (LNG) for industrial and commercial consumers in the Caribbean. Those who can benefit from adopting this affordable and eco-friendly power source include resorts and hotels, manufacturing companies, bottling plants and other industrial and commercial organizations.

To watch the video, click here.

The following questions are addressed on the video:
1) What is LNG and how is it used?
2) Who is the ideal consumer for industrial LNG in the Caribbean?
3) What are the advantages to consumers?
4) What's needed for a consumer to make the switch?
5) What should a consumer look for in a supplier when considering the switch to LNG?

Crowley entered into the LNG market earlier this year with the acquisition of Carib Energy LLC.  Florida-based Carib Energy, founded in 2011, was the first company to receive a small scale, 25-year, LNG export license from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for LNG transportation from the U.S. into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries.

While Crowley’s overall strategic focus on the LNG market spans several of its diversified business lines and leverages its storied history and success in the marine, project management, energy and transportation fields, Carib Energy has provided the company with an introduction into the emerging energy market from which the company can grow its concentration on LNG transportation. Crowley now serves the LNG market through LNG vessel design and construction; transportation; product sales and distribution, and full-scale, project management solutions. 

"The ideal provider should be able to supply the long-term contract for LNG, the ISO tanks, possibly a regassification skid and the strategic partners that can help industrial consumers make the conversion to natural gas," said Buffington on the video. "Crowley can do that and more."

While Carib Energy has a pending U.S. Department of Energy application to supply LNG transportation services into non-FTA countries, its current licensing allows them, and now Crowley, to supply cost-efficient, environmentally friendly LNG from the U.S. to both commercial and industrial customers within the Caribbean and Central and South America – all countries where LNG is an attractive commodity thanks to its low price point in the face of growing power supply costs.  Carib Energy is also cementing its involvement in future LNG fuel bunkering for ships transiting between the U.S. and Caribbean markets.

LNG facts from the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG):
LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is natural gas that is cooled to -260° Fahrenheit until it becomes a liquid and then stored at essentially atmospheric pressure. Converting natural gas to LNG, a process that reduces its volume by about 600 times allows it to be transported. Once delivered to its destination, the LNG is warmed back into its original gaseous state so that it can be used just like existing natural gas supplies. When returned to its gaseous state, LNG is used across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors for purposes as diverse as heating and cooling homes, cooking, generating electricity and manufacturing paper, metal, glass and other materials. LNG is not stored under pressure and it is not explosive. LNG vapors (methane) mixed with air are not explosive in an unconfined environment. When exposed to the environment, LNG rapidly evaporates, leaving no residue on water or soil.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc., a holding company of the 121-year-old Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a privately held family and employee-owned company. The company provides project solutions, transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response through its TITAN Salvage subsidiary; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture through its Jensen Maritime subsidiary; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet

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To watch the video, click here:

INSIGHTS: from Crowley's Todd Busch

08/21/2012 01:20 pm

By Joseph Keefe

Friday, August 17, 2012

Todd Busch joined Crowley as an ordinary seaman in 1986, earning his masters’ license working aboard company tugboats before coming ashore in 1994 as a tug dispatcher. Since then, he has held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility within the firm. Today, the 24-year Crowley veteran is a member of the company’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to Crowley CEO Tom Crowley. Based at Crowley’s headquarters in Jacksonville, FL, he is responsible for several of the company’s business enterprises including the project management organization PMOrg (known as Crowley solutions), as well as subsidiaries Titan Salvage, Jensen Maritime Consultants, and Intrepid Ship Management. Collectively these technical services encompass marine salvage and wreck removal; naval architecture and marine engineering; vessel construction management; ship management; offshore support; vessel chartering; project management and government contract services.

The 2002 recipient of the Thomas B. Crowley trophy – the highest honor a Crowley employee can receive – Busch has additionally represented Crowley in the International Salvage Union (ISU), and served on the executive committee for the past 7 years. In 2009 he was elected to President of the ISU, a position he held until September 2011. Beyond this, he has also served as a director of the Clean Pacific Alliance and the Marine Response Alliance. Todd’s views are therefore particularly relevant and he brings MarineNews readers up-to-speed on all things “salvage” in this month’s version of INSIGHTS:

The heightened awareness for the marine environment and the role that salvage has to play in that equation are both important components to a happy ending in marine casualties. Where salvors make best efforts to contain an environmental disaster and the final salvage value does not reflect those efforts, making the salvor whole can be problematic. What’s the solution?
The International Salvage Union has promoted the idea of adding a component to Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) to address these types of situations where the environment is threatened, and the response of the salvor has saved damage to the environment. You mentioned a happy ending; this is a win-win for all involved. It protects the environment, saves the responsible party from additional costs related to the environmental damage that could have occurred, and justly rewards the salvor for his efforts.

To read the full interview, check out the following link: INSIGHTS: From Crowley’s Todd Busch

Tips for Produce Importers

12/21/2010 08:30 am

Crowley's Nelly Yunta, general manager, Customized Brokers, and Kip Douglass, director of North American transportation, logistics, together give 10 tips on improving methods of importing perishables to Logistics Management readers.

Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Bill Pennella Accepts The 2010 AOTOS Award

11/12/2010 08:30 am

William Pennella, vice chairman and executive vice president of Crowley Maritime Corporation, was named co-winner of the 2010 Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award (AOTOS), along with Thomas J. Bethel, national president of the American Maritime Officers (AMO).

Both men were honored for their lifelong contributions to the U.S. maritime industry, particularly the role their organizations played in providing humanitarian relief to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake there.

Tom Crowley Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Crowley, presented the award to Pennella on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, at a gala industry dinner and dance.

Pennella’s acceptance speech upon receiving the award follows:

I would like to thank the United Seamen's Service and the members of the nominating committee for this great honor. 

I would also like to congratulate Tom Bethel on his well deserved honor and the maritime unions for their extraordinary response to the Haitian disaster.  

As everyone knows, no one receives this award without being a member of an outstanding team, and I would like to thank the entire Crowley organization for making this possible, especially Tom Crowley and his dad, who changed my life with the opportunities they have afforded me. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my wife Joan. We met in high school and have been married 42 years. I have always said that Joan raised three children and me. She had no idea what she was getting into when she married a kid from Newark, NJ.  

Anyone who knows me realizes this will be a short speech. I am a strong believer in being "short and being seated."

Having sat where you are for many years, I know the most eloquent words you can hear in a speech are "thank you and good night." With that in mind, I only have two points I want to make tonight. One is personal and the other is recognition of the importance of the labor movement in this great country. 

On a personal note, I truly believe you can only appreciate where you are in life if you remember where you came from.

I was born in Newark, NJ, in a rough neighborhood. I grew up with some rough guys. Now, just because they were rough around the edges, it did not mean they were not smart. In fact, half my friends made straight A’s. Their B’s were a little crooked.   

My dad was a longshoreman and worked break-bulk ships at Port Newark. 

Because I earned a full scholarship, obviously not athletic, I was able to become the first college graduate in my family.

My dad could not believe that after all that education I headed right back to the docks to work for Sea Land.

On top of that, he warned me to stay away from labor relations because they would eat me up. 

Well, obviously, like any good son, I disregarded all his advice.  

He taught me to respect all workers and I was always proud that in my career I was never responsible for a work stoppage or strike.  

I truly wish he were alive to see this great honor that has been given to me. I do not delude myself into thinking that I belong in the Pantheon of greatness of the prior recipients.

However, life is not always fair.

As my dad used to tell me, “Expecting life to be fair is like expecting the bull not to attack you just because you are a vegetarian.” 

On a more serious note, I have always felt in awe of the social importance of the maritime labor movement. They allowed an entire generation of immigrants to join the middle class, educate their children and have a decent standard of living.

I also strongly believe that if the labor movement had not fought hard to force corporations to share the wealth in the early 1900s, this great country could have faced a social revolution and unrest. 

And, I applaud those like Mike Sacco, Richie Hughes, Tim Brown, Tommy Bethel and Don Keefe who have picked up the torch and continue to work with management in an enlightened way to continue with this great social experiment.  

This one’s for you dad. Thank you and good night.

Crowley Maritime's Headquarters in Jacksonville Fights Through the Recession (2009)

09/20/2009 08:30 am

As printed in the Florida Times-Union, September 20, 2009

By David Bauerlein

Big, black Crowley Maritime barges being loaded at the Talleyrand port are an everyday sight for drivers going across the Mathews Bridge near downtown Jacksonville.

The corporate headquarters for Crowley Maritime sits in a less conspicuous spot -- a multistory office building owned by Crowley in the Regency Square mall area.

From that building, Crowley executives oversee the corporation's 4,300 employees working on the East Coast and West Coast, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

"Jacksonville is kind of the hub of everything," said Chief Executive Officer Tom Crowley Jr., the third generation of the Crowley family to run the business. "That really is the central point to Crowley. There's a lot of support that the team provides there to people all over the world."

The recession has dealt a blow to maritime business around the globe. Faced with a plunge in consumer spending, there is less cargo being shipped. Crowley has felt the squeeze, too, but the company is banking on picking up business from shipping petroleum and providing maritime services for offshore drilling.

"The fact that we invested heavily in energy, I think that certainly has been a much more stable line of business for us," Crowley said. "We're getting nervous that oil prices aren't going back up. If they don't, that will continue to put pressure on the exploration efforts in the coming years. But it's where our diversification really helps over time because all our businesses aren't going in the same direction and impacted by the same things."

Crowley Maritime employs about 1,200 people in the Jacksonville area, representing roughly one-fourth of the company's employees. It is among the nation's biggest privately owned companies, according to Forbes magazine's annual rankings. In 2008, Crowley ranked at 298th on the list with annual revenue of $1.62 billion. (Jacksonville-based Gate Petroleum clocked in at No. 338.) The Forbes report was based on 2007 revenue for Crowley. In 2008, the company tallied $1.96 billion in revenue.

Most of the Crowley's upper level of management works out of the Jacksonville corporate office, but there is a notable exception -- Tom Crowley himself.

He bases his home office in Oakland, Calif., the same area where his grandfather founded the company in 1892 by purchasing a rowboat for supplying ships anchored in the San Francisco Bay. Crowley visits Jacksonville, but it's just one of many places he travels for face-to-face meetings with employees and customers.

"My office is my laptop and a cell phone," he said. "As long as I have a hotel room with an Internet connection, I can pretty much exist anywhere."

Crowley, 42, has been at the helm for 15 years. He was just 27 when he became chief executive officer after his father died.

"We have a very strong group of people who held things together," he said. "It allowed me to step back and say how do I see this company going forward and what kind of things do I want to change."

The company has six lines of business -- cargo shipping in Puerto Rico/Caribbean market, cargo shipping to Latin America, transport of petroleum products and other energy-related activities, logistics to help companies manage their supply chains, marine services such as salvage and towing, and technical assistance for ship management and construction.

Crowley said there aren't levels of management between him and each line of business. It's a "flat" structure that enables him to work closely with each business and its customers, but he doesn't have to be involved in the day-to-day running of the businesses. He said he concentrates on long-term strategy and building a collaborative culture for employees.

"When I started out, I spent a lot of time going over the budget and numbers and looking at the financial aspects of the company," he said. "I began to realize those discussions didn't add much value. Most of the time when you're looking at numbers, you're reporting the past and it's difficult to influence the past. The biggest change I've made is to try and flip that around and look into the future."

Crowley Maritime's current investment is geared toward bulking up its business that serves the petroleum industry. Crowley's roots shipping petroleum date back to the 1930s in California. The West Coast operation later expanded to Alaska. More recently, Crowley Maritime has pushed into the Gulf of Mexico using vessels that carry petroleum and flat-deck barges that haul structures for deepwater exploration and production.

On the cargo side, Crowley has faced a years-long slump in the Puerto Rico market, which entered a deep recession even before the United States did. That connection is what originally brought the company to Jacksonville in 1974 as a port for shipments to Puerto Rico.

Jacksonville's status as the corporate headquarters evolved over the past 20 years. The consolidation began by shifting operations from New Jersey and Miami to Jacksonville. Then the consolidation brought in employees from Seattle and Oakland. Crowley said Jacksonville was located centrally to where the company did business. Also, the company already owned the building, and Jacksonville's lower cost of living made it easier to relocate employees here. Jacksonville officially became the corporate headquarters in 2007.

While that low-cost dynamic favored Jacksonville in the past, it could be different in the future. Crowley Maritime has been shifting some corporate functions to Central America.

"You certainly don't want to spread things out too far," Crowley said. "Jacksonville has been the beneficiary of a lot of consolidations the company did throughout the U.S. Right now, we are transferring some functions to El Salvador and other Central American countries. We really look at that as keeping it in the family. We're transferring those functions to other Crowley offices with Crowley employees. For us, it's not only a cost-reduction move, but it's also an investment in the countries we're so reliant on [for business]."

He said he doesn't know whether his 11-year-old son or 9-year-old daughter will someday become the fourth-generation Crowley to run the company.

"You think about it right out of the gate," he said. But he said in his own case, his father never pressured him to join the family business and that's "the only right way to do it."

"There was no point in time when he ever told me he expected me to take over the company or that I needed to do something," he said. "He taught through example. He would put me in situations where he knew I would be in a position to learn, but he never preached about it."

He said his father and grandfather never retired from their work as executives. His father died at 79.

"I'm 42 and I don't see an end in sight," Crowley said. "I don't know that I will stick it out that long. That's a long way away, and all the more reason that you want to have a great team of people who can support you."

Crowley Maritime Corp. Plans $800 Million Shipping Fleet Expansion (2009)

06/05/2009 08:30 am

As printed in the Jacksonville Business Journal, June 5, 2009

By Mark Szakonyi, Staff Writer

JACKSONVILLE — While other shipping companies pull back on new vessel building, Crowley Maritime Corp. plans to spend $800 million on its fleet over the next five years.

The move reflects the confidence of the Jacksonville company, which hasn’t experienced the cargo slump that many trans-Atlantic shipping companies have felt in recent months.

The new fleet will allow the company to be more competitive in the West Coast and Gulf Coast petroleum hauling industry, pull heavier cargo and better operate a recent Alaskan acquisition, said Ed Schlueter, the company’s vice president of vessel management services.

“Our philosophy is that there will be ups and downs in the market,” he said. “We have been in business for 117 years and we’re looking at the next 117 years.”

The company, which had $1.6 billion in revenue in 2007, hasn’t experienced any “significant declines” but has felt a softening in the market, Crowley spokeswoman Jenifer Kimble said.

Crowley is handling the international trade slump better than many other shipping companies largely because its Latin American and Caribbean trade is in goods less affected by a decline in consumer appetites, said John Martin, president and CEO of port and shipping consultants John C. Martin & Associates LLC.

He added that Crowley was wise to keep its fleet prepared for a resurgence in cargo traffic, and shipbuilding could be more affordable as many other shipping companies have canceled or pushed back orders, thus creating potential for deals.

Crowley, which spent about $650 million on its fleet in the past decade, plans to build 17 articulated tug barges, which are tugboats attached to the stern of a barge, Schlueter said. The ships, whose capacities range from 155,000 barrels to 300,000 barrels, are more cost-effective than traditional petroleum tankers because they require a smaller crew to operate.

The ATBs also can be built in any of the more than 20 small-tier shipyards, whereas tankers need to be built in larger shipyards, which number only about three in the U.S. The company is also planning to order two 156-foot tugboats that will have 11,000 horsepower, which is about 4,000 horsepower more than the average tugboat.

This “next generation of ocean-towing vessels” can tow anything up to about 18,000 tons, Schlueter said.

Crowley also has signed a contract for two 400-foot heavy-lift barges that can be used to move rigs for the offshore drilling industry. The company plans to order four more barges and keep options for an additional nine.

Lastly, Crowley will add two 78-foot, 1,200-horsepower tugboats to the fleet of Yutna Barge Lines, which Crowley bought about three years ago, Schlueter said. The “pretty stubby little dude,” which entered the fleet in April, is special in that it can operate in the shallower drafts of the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers in Alaska and in the ocean.

All the vessels will meet rules recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency on emissions and what precautions need to be taken so petroleum doesn’t hit the water. The vessels can also be equipped to meet stricter EPA guidelines expected over the next few years.

Cuba Q&A With Jay Brickman

03/01/2005 08:30 am

Q: How many sailings does Crowley currently have between the US and Cuba?

We have six sailings a month going to Cuba. We have two to three sailings per month going out of Gulfport to Havana. We will also set up a service where we will issue a Jacksonville bill of lading but rail the cargo down to Port Everglades. We will then use the Wednesday vessel going to the Southern Zone which probably won't be every week but will be about three times a month; so between the gulf coast and the Port Everglades sailings we should have about six sailings per month.

Q: Will there be any cargo departures via ocean to Havana from Jacksonville?

For the moment, no.

Q: Which ship or ships will service this route?

Out of the Gulf it's easy; it's the Gothica. Out of the East Coast (Port Everglades) it's harder to say because those ships rotate. It depends on which one is there on Wednesday that is going to the Southern Zone. But, from both the Gulf and the East Coast both ships will be RO/RO.

Q: About how many containers go to Cuba in a week or in a shipment?

What we would like to have are about 40 containers per week out of the East Coast and 50-60 containers per week out of the Gulf Coast.

Q: What is the cargo?

The interesting thing about Cuba is that before trade was opened in 2000, out of 266 countries, Cuba was in last place on the U.S list of imports from the U.S. in agricultural products. Today Cuba is the 26th largest importer of agricultural products from the U.S. and it's either the second or third largest importer of rice and frozen chicken. So, the trade has grown substantially and Cuba has begun to play a significant role in certain agricultural sectors exporting from the U.S. The largest U.S. exports to Cuba are grain products which move by bulk carrier. That is not Crowley's expertise. In the container section, the market is still small and it represents a very small percentage of Crowley's container movements in the Caribbean. Crowley carries mostly packaged food products. It is Crowley's feeling that U.S./ Cuban trade will grow and that Cuba will be a very significant market in the future.

Q: How is that happening with trade sanctions? Is it because it is considered humanitarian goods?

The law says that humanitarian, agricultural and medical supplies can go to Cuba. The interpretation of agricultural extends from food to wood pulp to lumber because all those things grow. What our government has done now is that they have changed the terms of cargo delivery. Previously they allowed goods to go to Cuba but said payment had to be received prior to the goods being released to the Cuban government. Now they have said that goods cannot be placed on a ship in the U.S. bound for Cuba until a cash payment is received or Cuba can use third country financing with a letter of credit.

Q: Can you explain to me how the letter of credit works in trading with Cuba? Is it the same as other countries that require them as well? At which point does the actual transaction occur -- is it when the ship is en route to the load port?

A little background on this. The present trade with Cuba is governed by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. This Act defines which products may move from the U.S. to Cuba and it also stipulates that there may be two methods for payment: Cash payment in advance and financing by third country financial institutions. Until recently, the cash payment in advance has been interpreted as receipt of payment before transfer of title and release of physical control of goods. It is now said that what this term means is payment before the cargo is placed on the vessel to leave the United States. In relation to financing by third country financial institutions, there is some question as to the full interpretation of this item but certainly, letters of credit would be one way to have financing by a third country.

In relation to how the letter of credit works. Letters of credit were created in the 12th century in order to resolve the concerns for payment and delivery of goods between the buyer and the seller. There are a number of different types of letters of credit and terms and conditions are negotiated between the buyer and the seller. At this point I do not think that there is a template letter of credit with boilerplate terms specifically for US - Cuban trade. Until that happens I am not sure that there is a standard time as to when the "transaction" actually occurs...or what exactly "transaction" means.

The letters of credit, which might be used in this trade, are similar to those used in regular international trade. The one basic difference is that a letter of credit cannot be opened in Cuba against a U.S. bank. In normal practice a U.S. bank would be permitted.

Q: What is the state of the Cuban dollar in relation to the U.S. dollar?

There has been a change. Up until very recently you could go to Cuba with U.S. dollars and they were accepted as legal tender. The official exchange rate of a Cuban peso is 25:1, which is not a real market exchange. The Cuban government has changed its policy and you can no longer spend dollars in Cuba. If you go with dollars you have to buy what is called a convertible peso and there is a 10% tax on buying them. So now effectively the dollar is worth 90 cents towards a Cuban peso.

Q: Do you foresee an increase in southbound cargo to Cuba as a result of the letter of credit mandate?

First a word about Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). They have a very difficult job. They have to work in an environment in which there are a number of differing opinions. No matter what they do in any given situation they will never have 100% agreement. Specifically on the interpretation of "cash in advance" there are some problems. This is a very conservative way of doing business. In addition to that, it raises concerns from the Cuban point of view as to whether goods paid for in advance in the US could be held to stratify various US Court rulings. It is fair to conclude that goods will not be shipped under this condition. The "old" method of payment before transfer did work and to the best of my knowledge everyone was paid in full for their shipments. The change in payments terms will negatively impact this trade.
The changes do put the U.S. producers at a disadvantage. It does increase the cost of the transaction. So, the first thing we are going to see because of this change is a dip in trade until the Cuban government decides exactly what it wants its policy to be. Letters of credit cost money. Following this dip in trade we hope to see a resumption of what we see today.

Q: Are there several third party countries that have come forward willing to issue this credit?

Sure, that isn't a problem. Currently Cuba does international banking all across the world except in the U.S.

Q: Are there any pitfalls that a shipper could conceiv- ably run into with the letter of credit if he or she is unfamiliar with the process?

No matter which trade you may mention, letters of credit can have a number of pitfalls. If shippers are unfamiliar with the terms of a letter of credit they should definitely seek the professional support of an international bank or international freight forwarder.

Q: How do the Cuban people feel about receiving U.S. goods?

U.S. goods have had a significant impact in Cuba by having higher quality goods and more goods available, that's been clearly recognized. For example when there was the chicken flu in the U.S. and chicken exports were stopped for a while, I literally had people stop me on the street who knew who I was or who I worked for and ask me where the chicken was. So, they appreciate the goods coming in.

Q: Is there a shift toward having more open trade?

From the Cuban point of view, trade is welcome; from the U.S. perspective, there are still restrictions.

Q: In general, are the U.S. manufacturers and farmers willing to ship to Cuba or are they hesitant because of the politics?

No, much to the contrary. When you look at the Craig Bill which is in the Senate right now it expresses the desire of citizens who want this trade to be left alone to grow. Everyone who ships to Cuba has been paid on time, there has never been, up until now, a bad debt and they are very vocal about wanting to improve the trade.

Q: Is Crowley still shipping cows? What else have we shipped?

Yes, we shipped more cows last month. We have had bison, sheep and goats as well. It could be a regular shipment, if we would give the Cuban veterinarians the visas to come over and do agricultural inspections.

Q: Do you see any development in the ability of the U.S. to import goods from Cuba or is it going to continue to be a one-way trade at this point?

At this point it will continue to be all southbound because U.S. law does not permit any imported goods from Cuba.

Q: Are you a proponent of trade to Cuba?

I have been going to Cuba for Crowley since 1978. There were times when we could go and times when we couldn't. From a purely commercial point of view, Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean with 11.2 million people. Though at present it doesn't have a high per capita income, it used to and it could again. When we look at Puerto Rico, it has about 3 million people and we understand the significance of Puerto Rico. Cuba could be something similar for Crowley. In some sectors such as poultry and rice, Cuba is a key market. If the sanctions were lifted, there would be a tremendous growth potential for U.S. goods and services. The additional trade would create a large number of new jobs in the U.S. and it would enable Cuba to use its resources to purchase more goods and services. If the sanctions were lifted it would also enable Cuba to export to the U.S. That would create more jobs in Cuba and facilitate even more imports from the U.S.

The Cuban market presents the opportunity for the U.S. to export of a large spectrum of goods and services. The list really goes from A to Z.

Bay Pioneer Sails Back--112-Year-Old Crowley Maritime Returns To Its Roots (2004)

06/19/2004 08:30 am

As printed in the San Francisco Chronicle June 19, 2004

By Pia Sarkar, Staff Writer

Crowley's tugboat has come in.

After a 104-year presence followed by an eight-year absence, the Crowley Maritime Corp. is back in the Bay Area, offering a modest version of what it used to be.

Tom Crowley Jr., the company's third-generation chairman and chief executive officer, has placed two tugboats in the Port of Oakland to guide container ships into the harbor. The move signals Crowley's desire to reunite with the place that was his company's home when it was founded in 1892.

"It's great to be back in the bay," Crowley said, taking a ride Friday afternoon with a small crew aboard the Tioga, a red-and-white tugboat.

In its heyday, Crowley Maritime was the oldest and biggest tugboat operator in San Francisco Bay, outperforming rivals in a fiercely competitive market. It also owned the Red & White fleet, a tour and commuter boat operation now run by the Blue & Gold fleet in San Francisco.

Over time, Crowley Maritime's stronghold started to slip as more competitors entered the market. In 1995, the company sold its Red & White fleet. The following year, it pulled all seven of its tugboats from Bay Area waters and shifted its attention to more lucrative ports like Long Beach in Southern California and Puget Sound in Washington.

All this happened as Crowley Maritime found itself in the hands of a new leader. Tom Crowley Sr. died in 1994 at 79, leaving the company to his son, who was only 27.

The younger Crowley admits the job was daunting. "It happened much sooner than anyone expected," he said.

It was under the younger Crowley's direction that the company left the Bay Area. "It was a business decision that had to be made," he said. "I had to force myself not to be emotional of the fact that this is where we started and we had to shut down."

It was also Crowley's decision to come back to the Bay Area, in part at the urging of his customers, including Maersk Sealand, one of the world's largest container ship operators.

"We felt that it's very important that we have a presence up and down the West Coast," Crowley said.

Although the Port of Oakland is not as bustling as some other ports where Crowley Maritime remains focused, it is gaining ground. Improvements to the port are expected to attract more container ships, many of which sail from Asia carrying a growing volume of goods.

Five years ago, Crowley said, a typical ship used to transport between 4, 000 and 5,000 containers to the West Coast. These days, one might haul between 7,000 and 9,000 containers. As a consequence, container ships have become larger, and the Port of Oakland is learning how to accommodate them.

Crowley Maritime, in the meantime, plans a gradual return to the area. Rather than the 30 crewmen it used to employ in Oakland, it will have 10. Instead of the 10 or 15 people who used to provide shoreside support, there will only be three. And in contrast to the 200 people who worked at the corporate headquarters, there are 40.

"We've come back in a leaner way," Crowley said.

Now 37, Crowley has learned many lessons over the years. "We're a very different company than when we pulled out," he said. "We've come a long way over that time to be more competitive."

The company remains a venerable force in the tugboat industry worldwide. With more than $1 billion in annual revenue and more than 3,800 employees and 300 vessels around the globe, Crowley Maritime continues its work in linear cargo services; ship assist and escort; petroleum and chemical transportation; and salvage and emergency response.

For all the strides his company has made over the years, Crowley said it still feels good to return to the roots that his grandfather planted in the Bay Area.

"It's also a relief because my aunt ... was the most disappointed when we pulled the boats out," he said. "I was very, very happy to tell her we were back."

Crowley Celebrates 50 Years Of Maritime Cargo Transportation Service In Puerto Rico (2004)

05/27/2004 08:30 am

As printed in Caribbean Business May 27, 2004

Maritime cargo carrier Crowley Liner Services celebrates 50 years of doing business in Puerto Rico this year, having beaten 16 carriers over time in the transportation of domestic cargo between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

"As a liner shipping company, we are pretty much focused on the Caribbean," said Crowley Chairman, President, and CEO Tom Crowley Jr. during an exclusive interview with CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "We are never going to be an international carrier like Maersk or APL. Our focus is to provide a higher level of service in this specific marketplace."

"In Puerto Rico, we are very focused on the transport of department stores goods, building products, and automobiles, where we really can add value and provide better service than the bigger guys. We are a very strong regional player, offering five sailings a week. If a customers cargo is rolled off one voyage, they dont have to wait until the following week to get their cargo shipped; they roll on the next day. We are looking at improving the services that we have and are trying to build more customer loyalty through that avenue," said Crowley.

In 2003, Crowley's market share in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade market was estimated at 38% as it handled 730.8 million tons of cargo worth $413 million (compared with 596.2 million tons of cargo worth $329.8 million in 2002 with a 31% market share). The company has been a consistent market leader in the past five years for several reasons, including its equipment variety, the hundreds of units available at its Isla Grande terminal, and the services it offers its customers.

Crowley's cargo transportation system flows through four port terminals in the U.S. Philadelphias terminal offers one sailing weekly and Florida's Jacksonville terminal four sailings a week. Florida's Fort Lauderdale terminal is where most Central American operations originate while Crowley's Mississippi Gulf port specifically services Central America and Cuba. In Puerto Rico, Crowley's 83-acre terminal has a triple-deck unloading ramp that allows for eight-hour turnaround to service the five weekly sailings in addition to a Friday sailing to Jacksonville.

Keeping ahead in Puerto Rico's competitive market is a must for Crowley; it earns approximately 25% of the companys annual revenue. Over the past five years, the company has invested approximately $173 million in Puerto Rico's terminal, including such areas as tug and barge refurbishment and dry docking; terminal equipment and infrastructure; and cargo carrying equipment (new containers, reefers, flatbeds, chassis, etc.) The company estimates its annual direct and indirect economic impact on the island's economy at approximately $200 million.

Split in two geographical regions
The company is separated into two geographical regions: the Puerto Rico / Caribbean and the Dominican Republic / Central America divisions. Its most recent market addition was Cuba in 2003 when the carrier was certified by the U.S. government to transport agricultural and medical products to the embargoed island.

"We made the distinction between the two markets because they are very different," said Crowley. "Puerto Rico imports many consumer goods, making it a thriving economy with a tremendous amount of southbound trade from the U.S. mainland Then there is the manufacturing industry, where we carry manufacturing products northbound. With a competitive four sailings a week, our roll on / roll off operation and 53-foot containers, Crowley offers a lot of value to customers."

Crowley's Dominican Republic / Central America business is more oriented toward manufacturing. Cargo is made up of products manufactured in Central Americaapparel and other goods. The economy down there isnt as strong as Puerto Ricos, but we are starting to see more consumer goods imported into Central America, which is starting to become similar to Puerto Ricos trade, said Crowley.

Expanding business opportunities
"Most products [transported to Cuba] are bulk goods and chickens that are carried in bulk ships," said Crowley. "We are carrying the overflow from what originates in the U.S."

Cuba is the newest market and certainly the fastest growing, with a tremendous need for goods. But the political issues are certainly there and the island's future is very uncertain.

"During the first sailings, we found that the shipping's legal process was very complicated, such as making sure we had all the permits necessary in the U.S. and Cuba," said Crowley. "It had never been done and we were charting new ground. One sailing was aborted but we didnt give up and were eventually successful. It has worked out very well for us as we are using Crowley's southbound sailings to Mexico to stop in Cuba and the Central America northbound sailings in the same way. So far, we've averaged about 70 reefers a month and our vessels hold 300 units so were talking about 25% of the ship's capacity."

Another opportunity Crowley is taking to expand its business is in logistics. The company began Crowley Logistics (CL) several years back. CL is mostly concentrated in Central America and the U.S. mainland since Puerto Rico is fairly serviced because logistics and warehouse companies offer their services.

"We are pretty much focused on the Caribbean as a strong regional carrier, especially in Puerto Rico as it is a mature market for us," said John Douglass, Crowley Liner Services senior vice president and general manager for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. "There arent many other opportunities for us to expand our services. We serve Puerto Rico, the eastern Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, and all of Central America. So the Caribbean hub is pretty much covered."

Regarding plans to reserve the Bay of San Juan for cruise ship and tourism business, Crowley Vice President and General Manager for Puerto Rico Roberto Lugo isnt concerned.

The gubernatorial candidates running for this election have adopted some of the ideas of the Puerto Rico Shipping Association [of which he is president]. One is to have all the Old San Juan area for cruise ships as well as building a linear berth from Ramp Bravo all the way to Pier 15. This project has been on the back burner for the past eight or nine years, but we proposed it first. It hasnt been done because even though the government said they would do it, construction requires a lot of capital and is very costly. But Crowley's Isla Grande terminal wouldnt be affected because there would be a larger area where we could add space closer to our facility and turn over those sections that are farther away.

"Crowley is proud of the companys employees, who after all are the ones who handle clients deal with the cargo, and operate the equipment. Crowleys terminal in Puerto Rico is considered the largest ro-ro [or roll-on / roll-off] terminal in the Western Hemisphere. A study done by the Ports Authority to measure the number of throughputs versus the number of acres in the terminal indicated that it was the most efficient terminal in the world. Our containers are always moving and we are proud of this," said Crowley.

Ship Assist And Escort Business Stable Despite Changing Economy (2003)

04/22/2003 08:30 am

Excerpts from an interview with American Tugboat Review

By Rob Grune, VP, Crowley Marine Services

All signs show that the tugboat business on the U.S. West Coast will remain relatively stable over the next several years. The downturn in the global economy has affected the ship assist and escort business and until there is a turnaround in the overall economic situation of the U.S. and abroad, those in the know dont expect to see a tremendous upturn in business.

Despite what some may view as a lukewarm outlook, Crowley has continued to make big investments in its assist and escort business over the past six years by building 13 state of the art tractor-type tugs costing approximately $150 million. The newest of these tugs is the Response.

The new tugs in conjunction with Crowleys existing high-horsepower conventional tug fleet put the Company in a good position to benefit from any upturn that may occur. Crowley is dedicated to the business of ship assist and tanker escort on the U.S. West Coast and believes that the investment in equipment will pay off over time.

Crowley customers, which are already quality and safety conscience, are becoming even more so. Whenever and wherever they need tug assistance they want to ensure that they have the best tug equipment along with the most qualified and highly trained crews available. It is the companys belief that the customers increased awareness when it comes to quality is due to several factors:

 The customers customers are calling for reliability in service thus delays in port are not an option;

The federal, state and local government scrutiny is getting even more diligent

They realize that quality and safe operations is just good business.

Looking ahead, Crowley predicts that the market will continue to be competitive. The tug companies that will succeed will be those that are able to control their costs while at the same time are giving the customer a high quality product at a fair price. Ships are getting bigger and the requirements for assisting and escorting those vessels are getting more stringent.

Crowley believes that they have made the investment in its people through ISO 9000, ISO 1400, ISM, RCP and STCW certification, in its equipment by operating some of the most sophisticated ship docking and ship escort tugs in the world and in its customers by listening to their needs and striving to meet their requirements. Through these investments, the Company has put itself in a position to be successful in meeting the needs of the marketplace for many years to come.

Tom Crowley, Jr., Accepts The 2002 AOTOS Award

11/08/2002 02:54 pm

Acceptance Speech of Thomas B. Crowley, Jr.
Upon Receiving the Admiral of the Ocean Seas (AOTOS) Award
November 8, 2002

Thank you Secretary Mineta for that very kind introduction.

I am honored to be here tonight with so many distinguished past recipients of this award and with all of you. Thank you for coming not only to share this moment with Captain Brown and myself, but also to support the United Seamens Service and the community services they provide abroad for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the military and the seafarers of the world. Through their good work, the lives of these men and women are enhanced, even when they are thousands of miles from home.

First, I would like to recognize and thank some of the people who made this evening possible:

Honorary Chairman, President George W. Bush;

AOTOS Committee Chairman, John Bowers;

Dinner Chairman, Mike Sacco, and

National Committee Co-Chairmen, Captain Robert Hart and Samuel Nemirow.

Thank you Talmage Simpkins, Roger Korner, and distinguished members of the host and national committees.

I also would like to recognize my family that traveled all the way from CA to be with me tonight. My wife Christine, my mother, my step mother, and my cousins Jamie and Philip Bowles.

I will stop there because we might not get out of here until Sunday morning. All of the rest of the names are printed in the commemorative journal, which you all received. Thanks to all of you.

Ive always thought of this award as honoring a lifetime of achievement in the maritime industry. I think about the people who have received this honor before: Certainly my father back in 1988, Malcolm McLean in 1984 and many others

These are people who devoted much of their lives to this industry, were pioneers and accomplished some very amazing things. Toward the end of their long and distinguished careers, this very fine organization would put them in a tuxedo and recognize them for what theyve done.

I hope youre not trying to tell me something by giving me this award now. Please dont count me out quite yet. Ive got a ways to go. Our company is on the verge of some very exciting things.

Seriously though, I am honored and flattered by this recognition tonight. What our company has accomplished over the years would not have been possible without our thousands of dedicated Crowley employees around the world. Their commitment to excellence, record of accomplishment and loyalty to the company, allow me to stand before you tonight to accept this award. A bunch of them are here with us tonight. (I hope you are all still awake!)

I also share this honor with the many others who contribute to Crowleys success on a daily basis: -- Labor, including: the SIU, AMO, MMP, MEBA,and IBU, whose members crew our US flag vessels, and the SIU, Teamsters, and ILA, who so capably provide us with superb stevedoring services.

They are all part of the Crowley team and we appreciate our partnership with them in building a strong company and dealing with the issues that our industry faces. By working together like this we have been able to pursue mutually beneficial business opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible. And by mutually beneficial, I mean we created jobs for our employees and made profits to reinvest in the business. For that, I salute all of you.

As far as Crowley Maritime is concerned, I dont have a crystal ball so I really dont know whats in store. What I do know is that we have built a lot more than just tugs, barges, ships and terminals over the years. We have built a culture within our company that is unmatched in the industry.

We start with making long term decisions with everything we do we are going to be around at least another 100 years.

Next we approach all of our relationships with high ethical standards. Whether it is with our customers, our vendors, our employees, or our competition. We are true to our word.

If the first two are not tough enough in this business, the next one sure is. That is profit. I do not know what it is about this industry, but we do a great job passing along cost savings to our customers and leave very little for reinvestment in the business. As challenging as that may be, our company is focusing its efforts in areas where we deliver true value to our customers and where we can earn profits. And then most importantly, we reinvest those profits back into our business.

I think that the real key to our business is providing value to our customer. If we are doing the same thing our competition is doing at the same cost or more, we are in big trouble. We must differentiate ourselves and prove to the customer they are getting more value using Crowley.

We have a team of people here with us tonight that prove this day in and day out. We run a tug and barge service once a week from NJ to San Juan Puerto Rico competing with a ships making the same run with shorter transit time. And we are very successful at it. How?

Fantastic customer service

The most efficient ro/ro terminals in the world

A pro active, customer focused sales team

Information technology that has stood the test of a dot com craze

This is not a ship, a tug or a barge issue, it is people. Our employees are dedicated, loyal, and committed. The company recognizes that and treats our employees with that same kind of loyalty and respect.

We spend a lot of time understanding our customers business and then building a system to support them. We look at quality, integrity, reliability, and we look at innovation.

We have 71 vessels and 8 terminals operating under ISM/ISO 9002

We will have our first location up on 14002 by the end of the year

We have zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol

Our goal is zero oil spills which we have achieved 3 yrs in a row

We operate the most advanced fleet of tugboats in the world

We have built 28 new vessels in the past 8 years - the latest of which are 4 of the most sophisticated Articulated Tug Barge units in the world.

So there you have the secret to our success. Its nothing unique and its certainly not very sexy. But we are succeeding.

As you might expect the AOTOS award has very special meaning to me since my father was recognized with this very same honor in 1988. In his acceptance speech, he referenced the decline of the US Merchant Marine.

Since that time the Maritime Security Program was passed and secured some tonnage that will stay US Flag in the international trades. I certainly hope that this program survives and we will do all we can to support the US Merchant Marine in the international trades.

If my father were here today though, he would be hitting us all with a baseball bat saying what the hell is happening to the Jones Act. There is no question now that the last chance for the survival for the US merchant marine is right here in our own backyard. . We must all work together to ensure that the Jones Act is preserved. I truly believe, and I was trained by one of the best, that this is the last chance for the US Merchant Marine.

In closing, let me again thank all of the men and women of the Crowley family, from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Sao Paulo, Brazil to the Sahklin Islands in the Russia Far East. They make the company successful and give me the opportunity to come here and accept this award.

Mr. Secretary, Mr. Chairman, members of the AOTOS Committee, and all of you here tonight thank you very, very much for this great honor.

Case Study: The Maritime Executive (2001) (PDF)

A New Vision for Crowley (PDF)

Celebrating 50 Years in Puerto Rico (PDF)

Gentle Yellow Giants Prowl The Arctic (PDF)