FMC Holds Industry Briefing with Representatives of the Passenger Vessel Association
December 29, 2005
To gain a better understanding of current conditions throughout the industry, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) conducted an industry briefing this month by members of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA). PVA is a trade organization with members constituting owners and operators of "small- ship" passenger vessels, manufacturers of maritime-related products and services, and other service companies.
The following members of the Passenger Vessel Association were panelists at the briefing: Gary Welsh of New World Ship Management/Clipper Cruise Lines, St. Louis, MO; Jeff Krida of Cruise West, Seattle, WA; Charlie Robertson of American Cruise Lines, Guilford, CT; Bruce Nierenberg of Delta Queen Steamboat Company, New Orleans, LA; Eddie Conrad of Riverbarge Excursion Lines, New Orleans, LA; PVA President Troy Manthey of Starship Dining Yacht, Tampa, FL; PVA Vice President Robin Trinko-Russel of Madeline Island Ferry Line, La Pointe, WI; Tom Carman of American West Steamboat Company, Seattle, WA. Also participating in the briefing were Laura Omcea of American Cruise Lines; Bryce Brockway of Cruise West; Ron Adams of Delta Queen Steamboat; and Jeff Kindl of Riverbarge Excursions. PVA's Executive Director John Groundwater and Legislative Director Ed Welch were also in attendance.
At the briefing, members of the PVA discussed the unique challenges and opportunities available to smaller cruise lines, as compared to large international cruise lines. Panelists noted the creation of small niche markets, allowing for more personalized and tailored cruises, including the use of excursions, tours, ferries, and river cruises. In addition, it was noted that smaller cruise lines play a role in the local economies of the places they visit, often using local tour guides and entertainment.
Other topics included issues facing the smaller cruise lines, including government regulations, lack of economies of scale pricing, and how to educate the consumer on the benefits a smaller cruise line can provide. In addition, panelists discussed the impact of the most recent hurricane season.
Following the seventh such briefing with maritime industry stakeholders, FMC Chairman Steven R. Blust stated that, "Last July the Commission was briefed by the International Council of Cruise Lines, made up mostly of the large cruise operators. As such, hearing from the niche cruising market could not have been more beneficial to our staff members. I believe that we now have a well-rounded picture of the overnight cruising market that we regulate."
The Federal Maritime Commission is responsible for the regulation of ocean-borne transportation in the foreign commerce of the U.S. The FMC is working to streamline the regulatory process as it goes about fulfilling its core mission, which is to administer regulations and policies that foster a fair, efficient and secure maritime transportation system.
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