David KrapfDavid Krapf
David Krapf has been editor in chief of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989. He has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

Blog Activity

Better customer service for mariners

Will mariners see better service from the NMC? For mariners that have been frustrated with dealing with the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) for their credentials, there is hope. The NMC is testing a real-time, person-to-person service for mariners. As Dale DuPont reported in the August issue of WorkBoat that just hit the streets, the NMC began live online chat beta testing for mariners to talk directly to customer service agents on July 1. The hope is...

Look beyond offshore for good news

At this time last year, OSV contracts had slowed, but offshore-related newbuild and repair work were still fairly steady. That started to change a few months later. At this time last year, new OSV construction contracts had finally slowed, but yards still had some OSV backlogs and repair work was also fairly steady. That started to change a few months later. The offshore market is suffering, mainly a result of low oil prices that closed just above $50 bbl. yesterday....

Since Deepwater Horizon, it’s all about safety

It may never be totally safe to drill in the deepwater Gulf, but it’s clear that E&P companies want offshore service contractors who have strong safety cultures. It’s been over five years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and in the immediate aftermath there were calls to make it safer to drill and make sure that a similar disaster would be prevented in the future. It may never be totally safe to drill in the deepwater Gulf, but it’s clear that E&P companies want offshore...

For barge companies, oil isn't everything

Some inland barge companies stayed away from crude, seeing the demand for barges as a result of fracking as temporary. About three years ago, before hydraulic fracking took off, crude oil shipments from the Midwest to the Gulf via barge were almost nonexistent. By the end of 2013, however, volumes were close to 5 million bbls. per month. Barge companies like American Commercial Lines saw opportunity. ACL invested $69 million in 35 new tank barges in 2012 and another $38 million in 2013....

Another offshore energy cycle

Everyone agrees that we are now officially in the midst of a major offshore downturn. A year ago in our annual offshore cover story in WorkBoat, we sounded a word of caution in our annual offshore energy report that most of the majors would likely reduce capital expenditures. Analyst Allen Brooks said we were entering a “new era of austerity.” But many viewed the growing sluggishness offshore as merely a bump in the road rather than a major slowdown. They cited the...

Barge operators still humming along

The past few years have been very good for barge companies. The past few years have been very good for barge companies. One barge company owner told me recently that last year was by far its best year ever, and others have reported record earnings, strong balance sheets and excellent cash flow. In its fourth-quarter earnings call in January, Kirby reported that 2014 was the barge company’s fourth consecutive year of record earnings — $4.93 per share compared with $4.44 per share in...

Coast Guard is asked to do more with less … again

The U.S. Coast Guard provides a great return on investment and should get the funding it needs to replace its aging assets. The U.S. Coast Guard provides a great return on investment. That’s what the agency’s commandant, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, said at a congressional hearing in late February. That’s also what he told Passenger Vessel Association members earlier that month at the annual convention in California. Zukunft addressed a House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and...

Making sense of low oil prices

Oil prices remain depressed. Today, West Texas Intermediate was trading at around $51 bbl. In this environment, it’s important to keep up with what effect low oil prices are having on the offshore market, in particular what’s in store for OSV and rig operators. This and other topics will be discussed at the upcoming WorkBoat OSV Summit in Houston on April 2. Oil prices remain depressed. Today, West Texas Intermediate was trading at around $51 bbl. The low oil prices have...

Battling fires, rec boaters and oil prices

In the March cover story, technical editor Bruce Buls writes about Fremont Maritime Service’s India Tango fire training program in Seattle.   Yesterday, we wrapped up the March issue of WorkBoat, which should hit your mailboxes at the end of the month. In it, we tackle several subjects. In the March cover story, technical editor Bruce Buls writes about Fremont Maritime Service’s India Tango fire training program in Seattle. Fremont specializes in hands-on, 1,400°F training at...

The hurt from lower oil prices

Lower oil prices continue to plague OSV operators, but there is some hope on the horizon. Lower oil prices continue to plague OSV operators, resulting in lower day rates and utilization. Several operators have reportedly been idling equipment. And the news will likely get worse before improving in early 2016, analysts say. In a note to clients late last month, Michael Cohen of Barclays slashed the bank’s 2015 Brent crude oil average price forecast to $44 bbl., down 40% from its $72 bbl....