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Seapath Launches Jones Act Leasing to Meet U.S. Domestic Transport Need

platform supply vessel
The leasing business launches with a PSV already under bareboat charter and six barges under construction (Libra)

Published Mar 13, 2024 6:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Libra Group, a privately owned business group controlled by the Logothetis family, sees an opportunity and unmet demand in supplying Jones Act-compliant transport. Through one of its maritime subsidiaries, Seapath, the group is combining innovative maritime leasing and financing solutions with a portfolio of vessels that they plan to grow to meet the needs of the U.S. domestic transport business.

“Domestic maritime transportation is the backbone of the U.S. transportation system,” said Joshua Lubarsky, President of Seapath. “By launching our new Jones Act leasing business, Seapath is proud to support vital maritime transportation needs.”

They are launching the business with an initial transaction valued at $25 million. According to Lubarsky, the aim is to “grow to a $100 million portfolio over the coming months as we expand our offering of Jones Act vessels.”

The group starts with an order for six Jones Act-compliant barges. The barges are currently under construction. In addition, they currently have a platform supply vessel, the TM Diligence, which was acquired in September 2023 from Skansi Marine and now operates under bareboat charter to ThayerMahan, a maritime survey and data solutions provider. Built in 2002, the vessel is 256 feet (78 meters) and 650 dwt.

A U.S.-based company, Seapath was formed by Libra to address the need they perceive for critical investments in America’s maritime economy, including investments in marine industrial technologies and Jones Act vessels. In September 2023, Seapath and Pilot LNG announced a joint venture to develop a new facility, the Galveston LNG Bunker Port, that will fuel LNG-powered vessels in the greater Houston/ Galveston area of Texas with an initial investment of approximately $200 million.

The new business “builds on Libra Group’s extensive leasing capabilities across maritime and aerospace,” explains Manos Kouligkas, CEO of Libra Group. “Maritime is embedded into Libra Group’s DNA, and we are proud to help support and bolster America’s Jones Act-compliant fleet, which is critical to the U.S. economy.”

Libra Group is expanding its operations in the maritime sector. Among the group's 20 businesses, in 2022 they acquired Florida-based St. Johns Ship Building and formed a maritime subsidiary American Marine to support and strengthen the U.S. shipbuilding industry also as part of their perceived need for Jones Act-compliant vessels. The shipyard for example recently delivered a CTV which will be used to support the Vineyard offshore wind farm.

The group's other maritime holding is Lomar Shipping, a global shipping company with nearly 50 years of maritime heritage. Lomar is a leading ship-owning and management group with a diversified fleet of around 40 container vessels, bulk carriers, and chemical and product tankers.