Commissioner Doyle’s Remarks before World Trade Association Members
Prepared Remarks of William P. Doyle
Commissioner, U.S. Federal Maritime Commission
World Trade Association Luncheon and SeaLand Atlántico Announcement
February 17, 2016
Governor Wolf, Lt. Governor Stack, Chairman Sweeney, SeaLand CEO Craig Mygatt, Packer Marine Terminal CEO Tom Holt and Mexico Consul Carlos Cabrales – Today is a great day for Philadelphia and the communities of Altamira and Veracruz in Mexico.
I am so pleased to be here today talking about the reemergence of SeaLand and its all water Atlántico service. So good to be welcoming-in a former employer of mine – the Holt family. And great to be talking about the North – South trade which includes all of the Americas.
This folks, is a perfect example of a government-labor-private sector partnership of interests all pulling in the same direction. Congrats!
Everyone in the shipping business is trying to move their goods and products to the population oval. The population oval is the East Coast of the U.S. It is the world’s most concentrated consumer base. It extends from the lower Mid-Atlantic – out to the Great Lakes/Midwest region and up through New England and into Canada. Philadelphia is the epicenter of the population oval!
This port, no doubt was chosen by SeaLand as the hub for this new Atlántico service because of its location. Because of its expert labor workforce. Because of its stevedoring services experience. Because of its refrigerated warehousing space. And, because of the drive of the Philadelphia metro business community and Ship Philly First.
Freight rates are low in the container trade. The mega-ships are struggling to hold their freight rates. And, the owners of these mega-ships are setting up subsidiaries or tasking their business development departments to find new trade route – trade routes that can move cargo on smaller ships with businesses that move less total output of containers per year. That means trade between Mexico, Central America and South America. SeaLand is onto it and its parent Maersk Line is watching—so, help make it work!
This Atlántico service can move produce faster to the Philadelphia region than it can move by truck. Carrying the produce by long-haul truck is arduous—drivers have to switch at the U.S. – Mexico border; and the fruit and veggies can get damaged on the haul. But, that produce can arrive to markets in and around Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. 5 days earlier by ship than by truck. That means fresher fruit, and five more days of shelf life at the grocery store!
I’d like to discuss the environmental benefits of the Atlántico service. Don’t discount this fact. One container carried by truck from Mexico City to the Mid-Atlantic burns on average an equivalent base amount of 350 gallons of diesel fuel per trip. Carrying the same container on a SeaLand ship would have a burn rate of about 50 gallons per trip. A truck carries one container. A ship in this Atlántico trade can carry close to 600 containers. That’s a win, the carbon emissions are significantly reduced.
As I said, I am very pleased to be here today. My background includes that of an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine. I sailed on ships in and out of Philadelphia long before I became a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. In fact, I worked on ships that were owned and operated by the Holt family. Tom Holt, Jr. and his family are not only terminal operators but they were also shipowners up to the early 2000’s. I worked as an engineer on his ships – in the Philadelphia – Puerto Rico trade. Jobs on the ships helped me get through, and pay for law school. Congratulations Mr. Holt on the Packer Marine Avenue Terminal landing the Atlántico service. It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs!
In order for this service to work everyone in the business community must pitch-in. The ship needs to increase its cargo volume. You heard SeaLand’s CEO Craig Mygatt a few minutes ago – “help us make this work, shippers, fill the ship.”
Finally, I would like to discuss this year, “2016”, for a moment—this year marks a monumental year of maritime significance. Sixty years ago, like today, there was a need to find a more efficient and faster means of transporting goods. This April will mark the 60th anniversary of the world’s first transit of commercial containerized cargo. Yes, on April 26, 1956, the first commercial carriage of 58 containers moved by ship from New Jersey to Houston, Texas. The ship was the SS IDEAL X and it was a converted World War II, T2 tanker. The idea guy behind the carriage of containers by water was Malcom McLean and his company was SeaLand!
Look at the world today, and imagine it without containerization.
Welcome back SeaLand!
Let’s get everyone working! Thank you.