The new year is bringing new jobs to the SIU.
Those jobs are coming thanks to the $111 million acquisition in late 2012 of United Ocean Services (UOS) by SIU-contracted International Shipholding Corporation (ISH). The acquisition resulted in four new Gulf Coast-based ships being added to the SIU’s fleet.
“We’re very excited to bring new tonnage into the SIU family,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “Any time we can secure new jobs for the members it’s a plus.”
The new, three-year contract with ISH subsidiary Waterman covering the acquired tonnage will include yearly wage increases and feature all of the SIU’s premium benefit plans. The ships will serve as Jones Act vessels making dry cargo runs throughout the Gulf Coast.
SIU Ft. Lauderdale Port Agent Kris Hopkins has visited the ships and said the news of the acquisition and new jobs was widely celebrated along the Gulf Coast.
“We’ve all been very excited since we’ve known about it. These are additional jobs for our members in the Gulf,” Hopkins said. “It’s something I’m glad I got to see come to pass. It’s a great addition of jobs to the membership.”
The ships, which consist of two dry cargo bulk carriers (the Mary Ann Hudson and the Sheila McDevitt) and two integrated tug-barges (the Barbara Kessel and the Sharon Dehart), were part of UOS’s 131,000-dead weight tons Jones Act fleet. The ISH acquisition of UOS puts it in a prominent position when it comes to the U.S. Jones Act dry bulk market, bringing the company’s total capacity to more than 197,000 dead weight tons. The UOS’s long-term contracts and customers will remain under the new agreement.
Niels M. Johnsen, ISH’s chairman and chief executive officer, described the deal as a win for everybody involved.
“This acquisition enables management to capitalize on a growth opportunity,” he said. “The addition of these vessels strengthens our presence and improves our operating efficiencies in the U.S.-flag Jones Act dry bulk market.”
The addition of the new SIU jobs, Hopkins added, “goes to show the constant work that goes on by our contracts department. There are things they do all the time that maybe members don’t always see. But they keep us rolling.”