IPO for Northeast coastal barge operator

U.S. Shipping Partners LP, an Edison, N.J.-based coastal petroleum barge operator, raised $133.5 million in an initial public offering in late October. The company’s six million shares were priced at $22.25, the top of its expected range.

In addition to the coastal transportation of refined petroleum products, the company also transports petrochemicals and chemicals. The company’s fleet consists of six integrated tug-barge units and two specialty refined petroleum and chemical product tankers. The company has approximately 330 employees, 300 of which are fleet personnel.

The company began operations in September 2002 when it acquired six ITBs from the transportation division of Amerada Hess. The six 691-foot ITBs were built in 1982-1984. The tugs were built at Halter Marine and the barges at Bethlehem Steel. Four of the ITBs are currently operating under contracts with Hess, British Petroleum and Shell.

In August, U.S. Shipping signed a contract with Senesco Marine for the construction of a $40 million articulated tug-barge unit with options for three more over the next two years. (See story on page 48.) 

The first ATB is scheduled to be delivered in early 2006. Construction includes a 150-foot tug and a 140,000-bbl., 512-foot barge.                               — David Krapf 

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