June 09, 2020

Tote Maritime’s LNG fueling barge completed its 100th bunkering of Tote Maritime’s vessel — a milestone that marks the growth the liquified natural gas industry has seen and Jacksonville’s place in it: Some of the first LNG-powered vessels docking at Jaxport and companies like Jax LNG are now working to bring an increased supply of LNG to the area.
Jim Wagstaff, Tote’s Puerto Rico vice president of operations, says that he believes the industry still has more growth potential. In the past three to five years, LNG has become more commercially viable, and as supply increases, he expects demand will too.
“It’s a chicken or the egg scenario. But as more carriers convert, there will be more companies calling on Jacksonville because we’re positioned to supply and service those vessels,” Wagstaff said.
Foss Maritime General Manager Marjorie Zoretic agreed that demand will continue to grow in the LNG market. Foss is a towage and marine transportation company based out of Seattle and a sister company of Tote. Foss provides diesel bunkering, as well as LNG.
The LNG-fueling barge, Clean Jacksonville, will help to service the increasing number of vessels looking to comply with new marine fuel standards and lower their emissions. Foss said that as Jax LNG and other companies increase the amount of LNG they’re supplying, the Southeast will become a hub for vessels that use the fuel.
“We’re going to see more vessels calling on Jaxport for LNG,” Zoretic said. “Companies were worried about investing in LNG because of supply accessibility. With more obvious supply, its an easier decisions to make,” she said.
She predicts new vessel construction will occur as supply becomes more available.
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t had a large impact on the industry, Zoretic said: It affected the cruise ship industry, as more of those vessels had converted to LNG, but that’s only one piece of the market.
TOTE Maritime based in Princeton, New Jersey, is an owner/operator of domestic shipping in the United States. They specialize in moving cargo between North America to Puerto Rico and Alaska
(Source: Ellen Schneider/Jacksonville Biz Journal)