From the outside looking in, shipbreaking seems like a tough, dirty business, but it’s actually one of the greenest industries around. That’s because when it comes to shipbreaking, the breaking isn’t the end-goal. Recycling is. Rather than the majority of tons upon tons of retired marine vessels ending up on the beaches of third-world countries with little or no environmental or safety regulations, companies such as ESCO Marine recycle large quantities of vessels following strict U.S. safety and environmental laws. 

Sitting on 103 acres in Brownsville, Texas, ESCO Marine is a full-service marine yard and recycling operation. The company specializes in recyclable metals and the proper disposal of obsolete maritime vessels. It employs 300 to 400 people depending on the amount of work at hand and processes about a dozen vessels a year. Depending on the size of the vessels, the company is capable of handling eight ships simultaneously. 

Not many can say that their profession allows them to work with important parts of history. But Nikhil Shah, the president of All Star Metals LLC, a subsidiary of Chicago based Scrap Metal Services, can, as his company often dismantles vessels for the U.S. government. “We trade about 120,000 tons of fair scrap yearly just from our All Star Metals location,” he says.

Based in Brownsville, Texas, All Star specializes in licensed ship recycling, metal processing and environmental remediation contracting for clients that also include Chevron Corp. and Kirby Inland Marine. Shah founded All Star in 2003 and today it is one of the largest ship recyclers in North America. 

All of the truckers and SS lines South Florida Container Terminal (SFCT) works with are focused on shortening the time it takes to get in and out of a port, so it makes sense that SFCT’s major investments would focus on that as well. 

“Our customers – which are the SS lines and the truckers – expect quick turnaround of their vessels and their drivers to meet their commitments,” explains Director Mark Baker. “With the distribution centers opening up around the ports and the just-in-time supply concepts, it is important to maintain quick turn times for the customer. It’s a requirement in today’s high performance supply chains.”

The Port of Mobile has been one of the Southeast’s largest drivers of economic activity for more than 85 years, and the Alabama State Port Authority says it has every reason to believe it will continue to do so for a long time to come. The port has experienced significant growth over the past several years, and it continues to add new facilities such as intermodal capabilities that will come on line in 2015. 

The port’s investments in new facilities and new capabilities aren’t a recent phenomenon, either. The last decade has seen the Alabama State Port Authority make more than $700 million in capital improvements to its public and federal channels. “Our capital programs have transformed this seaport’s ability to handle post-Panamax-sized ships, diversify its cargo base, attract industrial investment statewide and generate jobs,” Director and CEO James K. Lyons said in a statement. “With continued investment in intermodal and transportation infrastructure, I can see these figures only getting bigger.” 

Progressive Transportation Service (PTS) operates in a tough business. The company, based in Long Beach, Calif., ships freight in the westACern United States. It offers over-the-road, intermodal and drayage, heavy haul, flatbed and other specialized carrier services.

One of the many challenges it faces is a driver shortage that is affecting the entire industry nationwide. 

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