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

Workboat market ups and downs

It is rare when all sectors of the workboat market face severe headwinds. One that stands out on the plus side is the tug market. The annual Yearbook issue of WorkBoat, due out later this month, again contains plenty of bad news from the oil patch. And you can add the inland waterways to the tepid side of the ledger. After enjoying several years of stable growth, operators have seen a cooling off in the main commodities moved by barge. But as is usually the case, it is rare when all...

Riding the offshore cycle

The cut in E&P spending should eventually slow production and help OSV operators by balancing the vessel market. Two years ago we sounded a word of caution in our annual report on the offshore market released each May. Last year analyst Allen Brooks said the downturn looked extreme, it would get worse, and that a fundamental restructuring of the offshore energy industry may be in order. This year’s offshore report, due out in WorkBoat later this month in conjunction with the...

What to do with stacked OSVs?

These boats are made for the oil patch — but that's not the only place they can be useful.  We are all familiar with the current state of the OSV market: It’s competitive, rates and utilization are down, and there are scores of stacked vessels. It’s the latter that has Anil Raj, owner of Technology Associates Inc. in New Orleans, and some other designers intrigued. At the WorkBoat OSV Summit held in Houston earlier this month, Raj said, “Good OSV designers keep this cyclical...

Maintenance doesn't take a hiatus

The energy industry may be down, but the rest of the workboat world can't come to a screeching halt. We all know the energy industry is way down. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the workboat world has come to a screeching halt — far from it. New boats are still being built — towboats, tugs, ATBs, pilot boats, patrol boats, etc. New boats that have come off the ways recently include Bouchard’s new ATB that was christened in New Orleans in February. The articulated tug-barge unit, built...

Be prepared for the offshore rebound

In this depressed energy market, it’s tough to envision better times. But it will come. In this depressed energy market, it’s tough to envision better times. But it will come. Hornbeck Offshore Services reported a fourth-quarter net loss last week, and Todd M. Hornbeck, the company’s chief executive officer, admitted that there was “no way to sugarcoat this.” He said the combined effects from depressed drilling activity and vessel oversupply will make 2016, and quite possibly beyond,...

Diversified shipyards finding plenty of business

The energy boom may have gone bust, but it's not all bad news for Gulf of Mexico shipyards. Yes, the energy slump (some say a depression is more accurate) has hit many Gulf of Mexico shipyards hard. Several yards that built OSVs like they were going out of style after the permit moratorium ended are now suffering. Our annual construction survey which comes out next month reflects the down market in the Gulf ― there were 18% fewer vessels, 515, in the 2015 survey. This compares to 628...

Fighting fatigue

Fatigue, cellphones, top NTSB chairman's concerns. The workboat industry and other commercial transport modes are a round-the-clock business. Unfortunately, people aren’t built that way. “The basic disconnect of fatigue is fairly simple. Most commercial transportation is 24/7, and humans aren’t,” said Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. NTSB Chair Christopher Hart. David Krapf photo.Hart, who addressed the Passenger Vessel Association annual meeting...

As oil busts, passenger vessels boom

As low oil prices continue to hammer the energy sector, passenger vessel operators are looking forward to another good year. At this time last year, on the eve of the annual Passenger Vessel Association convention, the energy sector was mired in bad news while passenger vessel operators were faring much better. Now, the energy market has eroded further, with oil dipping below $27 bbl. today for the first time since 2003. The price of oil has fallen over 25% this year. As oil prices...

Plenty of 'energy' at the WorkBoat Show

The WorkBoat Show proved that the industry is not just about the offshore energy sector. With the severe slump in oil prices continuing to bring down one of the major sectors of our industry, I didn’t think that the International WorkBoat Show held earlier this month would be the best ever. It wasn’t. But it was far from the worst, and topped many people’s expectations. Several exhibitors, among them a Gulf shipyard, told me that it was a great show for their company, perhaps the best...

It’s show time for workboats

To be prepared for the next offshore upturn, companies will still need to be aware of the industry’s latest products and services that will be on display at this year’s WorkBoat Show. It’s hard to believe, but in two weeks another International WorkBoat Show will open in New Orleans. The 36th installment of the show kicks off on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 3. It is another chance for the industry to show their stuff in the form of the latest products and...