I recently had the opportunity to attend the World Trade Association of Philadelphia luncheon on February 17, 2016. In addition, I was invited to say a few words during the announcement of SeaLand’s new Atlantico Service. SeaLand’s announcement was well attended and included Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, SeaLand’s CEO Craig Mygatt, Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Chairman Jerry Sweeney, Tom Holt, Jr. CEO Holt Logistics and Mexico Consul Carlos Giralt Cabrales.
In Veracruz, Mexico, Mexican shippers and the business community were also celebrating the new Atlantico service this week.
SeaLand’s Atlantico Service is a direct all water route between the ports of Veracruz and Altamira in Mexico and the port of Philadelphia. The service is a six day trip from Veracruz to Philadelphia and the all water Atlantico service provides an option for trade between the Mexico and the Eastern United States, which traditionally utilizes ground transportation on 95 percent of its volumes. This SeaLand service is tailor made for producers and exporters of perishable goods to the United States – goods such as avocados, lemons, tomatoes and other commercial cargo.
Governor Wolf in his remarks stated, “The arrival of SeaLand Atlantico is great news for exporters in the Greater Philadelphia metro area, and it is also great news for the commonwealth’s economy.” He continued, “Mexico is the second largest export market for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and this means manufacturers from the Greater Philadelphia metro area now have a more efficient, economical way to get to the growing markets of Mexico. It’s exactly the kind of growth my administration likes to see as we continue to invest in and improve the Port of Philadelphia.”
SeaLand’s CEO, Craig Mygatt, is pleased that the service is up and running. He pointed out that the Atlantico effort is just beginning and it will take further concerted efforts by the greater Philadelphia metropolitan business community to help increase cargo volumes by using this dedicated service. “We’re pleased to offer the service and we need shippers to fill the ship,” Mygatt reiterated.
SeaLand’s service knocks five days off the transit time that it normally takes to truck fruit and vegetables from Mexico to the mid-Atlantic. By carrying the produce by ship, it allows grocery stores and other businesses five more days of shelf life for their fresh produce. Produce arrives in better condition by ship than by truck from Mexico. It is also noteworthy that the aggravation and costs associated with changing drivers and trucks at border crossings is now eliminated by using the all-water route.
From an environmental standpoint, the Atlantico service makes perfect sense because carbon based emissions are significantly reduced. SeaLand estimates that a truck will burn about 350 gallons of diesel fuel per trip from Mexico City to the Mid-Atlantic – that is one truck, with one forty-foot container. Take the same container and put it on a ship and the container burns a diesel rate equivalent of 50 gallons per container per voyage. Specifically, SeaLand’s brochure itemizes fuel savings with the following examples: Carrying 100 containers aboard ship saves 31,487 gallons of diesel and carrying 600 containers would save 188, 921 gallons (1 ton = 317.76 gallons).
Atlantico is SeaLand’s second new service offering since the line came back into existence in 2105. SeaLand aims to capture small-scale shippers with unique needs. Some of these shippers move less than 500 containers per year. SeaLand is operating about 34 ships. Its reach is 29 countries throughout the Americas and Caribbean. It’s good to see Philadelphia picking up more services—they are very encouraged about this and future prospects.
“We're very excited about this new weekly service with Mexico,” said Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) Chairman Jerry Sweeney. “It's another example of the kinds of things that happen at the Port when you have great public-private partnerships in place. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is proud to invest in its marine terminals and provide business support, which assists aggressive, savvy terminal operators like the Holts in bringing home a great piece of business like this one.”
I remember running in and out of Philadelphia on the SS MAYAGUEZ back in the late 90’s. The MAYAGYUEZ was owned by the Holt family and the Holt family is still heavily involved in the maritime community. Not coincidentally, it is the Holt family’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal that will be tending to Atlantico service.
“This new service is the culmination of nearly two years of hard work and negotiations,” said Thomas J. Holt Jr. of Holt Logistics Corp. “Packer Avenue offers superior refrigerated cargo service, which will create efficiencies and provide greater scale to Mexico’s expanding perishable goods business.”
This year, 2016 marks an important year of significance as SeaLand ramps up its new operations. Sixty-years ago this April, the commercial carriage of containers was born. On April 26, 1956 the SS IDEAL X carried 58 containers from Port Newark, NJ to the Port of Houston, Texas. Malcolm Purcell Mclean (“Malcom”), a North Carolina trucker, is known as the pioneer of containerization. Malcom McLean bought two World War II T-2 oil tankers in January of 1956 and converted them into dual tanker/containerships; one of them being the IDEAL X. Mr. McLean exited the trucking business and started the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company in 1955. McLean changed the name to Sea-Land Service, Inc. in 1957.
It’s good to see the SeaLand name plying the seas once again.
On January 1, 2013, the United States Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination of William P. Doyle of York, Pennsylvania as a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission. He was nominated to another term by President Obama on January 29, 2015, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 23, 2015. Commissioner Doyle served over a decade as officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine as a marine engineer aboard numerous classes of vessels. Combined, Commissioner Doyle has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, including both the maritime and energy sectors. Throughout his career, he has held several senior executive positions in the industry. Doyle is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.