Seaco Energy/Coastal Carriers Joint Venture Plans Floating Terminals

Sea Containers, Inc. announced recently that its wholly owned subsidiary, Seaco Energy Corporation, and Coastal Carriers Corporation have formed a partnership to build and operate American- flag floating terminals. These terminals, located in New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi, will be used to load coal for export to Europe and the Far East.

The terminals will take aboard coal from river barges or shoreside coal-handling stations, then move to deep water and load the coal on oceangoing vessels for transport. Two trips, a total of 12 hours loading time, will complete the loading of the oceangoing vessel to some 150,000 tons capacity. The terminals will have a capacity of 12,000,000 tons per year. At the present time the draft limitation in the river is 40 feet, allowing vessels of only 70,000 dwt to load and safely sail across a shallow sand bar. The concept is to load the coal on the oceangoing vessel at two points: the first in the Mississippi River and the second in the Gulf of Mexico, where there is a 65-foot draft.

The first terminal, at a cost of approximately $45 million, is to be constructed in an American shipyard and should be operational in 1983. This terminal will have an overall length of 608 feet, beam of 122 feet, and draft of 28 feet.

It is planned to contract with coal shippers or importers on a consecutive voyage basis and load 100,000-150,000-dwt vessels for discharge in Europe and the Far East. This project will enable the buyers to obtain freight rates at a discount from the current market. Lower delivery costs of American coal will eliminate some of the disadvantages of American coal sales, resulting in lower delivered costs, and reduce demurrage charges being paid at Eastern U.S. ports.

The partners, experienced transportation companies, specialize in container, tanker, and bulk carrier trades. The sales agent for the terminal will be Coal Export Logistics Corporation.

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