Business View Magazine interviews representatives from HMS Global Marine as part of our series on the marine and boating sector.
HMS Global Maritime, a full-service marine operator and maritime management company, started in 1995 as a spinoff of Hornblower Cruises and Events, a business that operates casino and excursion vessels, and charter yachts. Today, HMS Global Maritime, with headquarters in New Albany, Indiana, has four divisions: HMS Ferries, HMS Consulting & Technical, the American Queen Steamboat Company, and Seaward Services. The company has approximately 900 employees across its four divisions.
HMS Ferries, with headquarters in Bainbridge Island, Washington, offers specialized knowledge and expertise required to transport passengers, vehicles, and other cargo, safely across inland and coastal waterways. The company offers complete vessel management and maintenance services, combined with comprehensive operational support, including onshore and onboard customer service. “The vessels that we operate in our Ferries Division are typically owned by the client, typically state or local government agencies,” says Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, HMS Global Maritime’s Chief Operating Officer. “While we don’t own those vessels, we do handle all maintenance and operations.”
Current HMS Ferries contracts include: Gee’s Bend Ferry in Camden, Alabama; Governors Island Ferry in New York, New York; Mobile Bay Ferry in Mobile Bay, Alabama; Oklahoma City River Cruises in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Pierce County Ferry in Pierce County, Washington; St. Johns River Ferry in Jacksonville, Florida; Channel Cat Water Taxi Service in Moline, Illinois; and Riverlink Ferry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A new project for HMS Ferries is the planned shift of a conventionally-powered, small passenger and car ferry in Gee’s Bend into the first all-electric ferry in the United States. “We’re working with the Alabama Department of Transportation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is providing a $1.8 million grant,” says Tim Aguirre, General Manager of HMS Ferries Alabama. “Right now, we’re looking to have that ferry operational by late spring 2018, or perhaps the early summer. Currently, the extensive design and engineering work is in progress; the marine integrators have been selected and we are getting ready to start ordering the hardware required for that project. There are a lot of maritime companies in the United States that are interested either in the all-electric or some form of hybrid vessel, and ferries happen to be a very good way to introduce this technology. Our approach is innovative and it could be a groundbreaking project for the maritime industry in the United States.”
“The two largest expenditures for operating a vessel are the mariners who operate them and the fuel burned to get from Point A to Point B,” Jaenichen adds. “As maritime companies focus on fiscal responsibility and return on investment for technology advances, they look at those operating costs as well as rules and regulations for clean air and clean water and look for opportunities to make those operations more efficient while keeping safety at the forefront. Given the goal of zero emissions for this vessel, having one that makes no liquid discharges or any adverse air emissions benefits both the environment and the community. It’s a leading technology and the EPA provides assistance for making transition to new technology, because one of the roles of government is to take on some of the expense and reduce risk for early adopters of technology.”
HMS Consulting & Technical, based in Seattle, Washington, provides both conceptual and existing operations with the expert knowledge necessary to succeed in the complex and demanding maritime industry. It focuses on three primary consulting disciplines: marine technical, regulatory, and business consulting. For start-up ventures, HMS Consulting can provide critical services such as feasibility analysis, concept and business plan development, financial modeling, and market research. When a start-up is ready to engage the infrastructure and logistics of its project, HMS Consulting can provide marine site assessments, vessel identification and acquisition, vessel construction/conversion management, operations planning, and financing options. For existing operations, the division offers a completely customized level of support that can take the company to a new level of optimized operational and financial performance.
American Queen Steamboat Company, currently based in Memphis, Tennessee, is HMS Global Maritime’s overnight cruise division, specializing in cruise vessel management and operations. It owns and operates the American Queen and American Duchess, which cruise the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Rivers; and the American Empress, which cruises the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. “We christened our third vessel, which is a converted casino boat, as the American Duchess, in August,” says Jaenichen. As the first all-suite paddlewheeler in the U.S., the American Duchess is, arguably, one of the most luxurious river cruising vessels in the country.
Seaward Services, Inc., headquartered in New Albany, Indiana, is HMS Global Maritime’s government services division. It provides services under contract to government agencies in Norfolk, Virginia; Bangor, Washington; Newport, Rhode Island; Panama City and Key West Florida; and Okinawa, Japan. It specializes in delivering efficient and cost-effective contracting services for vessel/fleet management and port operations to U.S. military and other Federal government agencies. Vessel management contracting services include comprehensive operations and maintenance for a diverse fleet of vessels. Port operation services include full-scale operations and maintenance of all types of government facilities, small craft and military installations, including U.S. Naval ranges.
“We operate under contract with the Department of Defense’s maritime logistics arm, Military Sealift Command,” Jaenichen says. “These are commercial type vessels that support Navy and Marine Corps operations. For example, one of the vessels that we operate, chartered from Irish Ferries, has been converted into a vessel that carries Marines out in the western Pacific. That vessel is called the Westpac Express, and right now, our Seaward Services division is in the final phase of converting its replacement, a former Hawaii Super Ferry, which was subsequently purchased by the Navy and operated by Military Sealift Command. It’s going to be formally rechristened, the United States Naval Ship, USNS Guam, later this year.”
Over the last several years, HMS Global Maritime, under the leadership of its President and CEO, John Waggoner, has become a world-class company that utilizes innovative technologies and employs U.S. mariners from around the country to support its operations. “We are pleased that we’ve been able to grow the business from less than a million dollars a year to over $150 million, last year,” states Jaenichen. “We bring the expertise, we bring the experience, and we bring the customer service that our clients are looking for in their particular transportation requirements and that our customers are seeking for their river cruise vacations.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: HMS Global Maritime
WHAT: A full-service marine operator and maritime management company
WHERE: New Albany, Indiana