A Letter from the President of National Shipping
Being of Italian descent, one of our required readings was Dante’s Divine Comedy. Written in the early 1300’s the story reflects on the passage of life and the journey of the soul thru Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
The epic starts outside of hell, Inferno, with the warning “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”. This infamous adage clearly reflects our third quarter experience in drydocking the National Glory. The reality of maintaining vessels to the highest standard in the Jones Act trade is sometimes overlooked and not understood. Our anticipated drydock in Tampa was double in both time and cost. Inclement weather and labor shortage plagued our progress. Any discussion on the Jones Act need to include the USA shipyards and the role ‘steel’ has historically played in the Act. There are so many relationships and dependencies that has allowed the Jones Act to survive for 102 years. It’s just not the ships!
We emerged from the drydock on a positive note with the USCG certifying the National Glory a seaworthy vessel for another 5 years.
The National Glory has always been a dependable vessel with an extraordinary crew; mainly based in the home ports of Houston and San Juan.
We arrived in Houston on September 18 the same day Fiona struck Puerto Rico. We were able to commence moving humanitarian cargoes on our very first voyage that arrived in San Juan on September 28th. Meanwhile, Ian came ashore in Florida wreaking havoc and destruction. In these cases, ocean transportation, proves to be the most reliable source of transport given the closure of highways, rail, and island economies. For the 4th quarter we anticipate large volumes of humanitarian cargoes as well as an influx of heavy machinery to clear and remove debris in the southern part of the island. It will be one of recovery or a period of redemption that we are passing through as described in passing through purgatory.
I believe looking forward to 2023 that we should be at the gates of Paradise. Today there are distinct signs of the economy slowing. Ships at anchor waiting for berths have been reduced to almost nil on the West Coast. Rates are coming down in the Transpacific Trade signaling demand is weakening. Warehouses are reportedly full awaiting sales. There is also evidence that trucking is starting to ease. I am hesitant to say that the economy will return to pre-pandemic times as I don’t believe so. Our work and buying habits have changed on a more permanent basis while inflation has claimed a larger share of our buying power. 2023 should be a year of recovery from both the natural disasters and the pandemic.
Next year we will celebrate 10 years of serving Puerto Rico. We would like to thank you for your continued support and confidence in National Shipping.
We are back!
President of National Shipping of America