AIP Expands Again With Seacor's Purchase of USSC

Image courtesy USSC

Published Aug 16, 2021 5:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Seacor Holdings, a Florida-based shipping conglomerate owned by American Industrial Partners, has purchased competitor U.S. Shipping Corporation (USSC). U.S. Shipping is a privately-held Jones Act product tanker owner, and it operates primarily on the U.S. East Coast, Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico trade lanes. 

USSC's two tankers and four ATBs will be folded into Seacor's tanker division, Seabulk. The transaction leaves Seabulk with 15 vessels of between 150,000-330,000 barrels of capacity. 

"Combining these two fleets and operating teams will provide our respective customers with enhanced flexibility, best-in-class equipment, and excellent service well into the future," said Seabulk CEO Dan Thorogood in a statement. 

The move follows just four months after Seacor Holdings went private in a transaction with American Industrial Partners (AIP), a private equity firm based in New York. With the acquisition of Seacor and (through Seacor) the purchase of U.S. Shipping Corp., AIP is building a major presence in the Jones Act market. 

AIP has been expanding in the U.S. coastwise sector for several years, especially in the Great Lakes. In 2018, AIP bought the Great Lakes shipping firm Rand Logistics out of bankruptcy. Two years later, acting through Rand Logistics as a subsidiary, AIP bought American Steamship Company - the largest operator of U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes. It integrated ASC into Rand, and it now operates a fleet of 24 vessels along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, including domestic voyages both within Canada and within the U.S. 

In February, Oaktree Capital Management acquired a "significant" minority stake in Rand; AIP retains majority ownership.