Being responsible covers a lot of territory. It implies responsibility to all of the critical stakeholders of our company...our customers, employees, communities, environment, and owners. It is not a value that comes easy, as it requires accountability for the actions of an entire organization.
In some cases, responsibility is easy to plan for. For example, we make use of specially designed rubber seal buckets that fully enclose the cargo during transfer. This ensures that we minimize any potential for cargo contamination or loss. It also means that we miminze the potential for spillage, a win for our communities and environment in addition to our customers.
In some cases, though, responsibility is more difficult. Ship damage is an unfortunate inevitability in our industry. Swinging 60 ton buckets and running mobile equipment inside of vessel holds thousands of times per ship means that the potential for an unintentional collision exists. In the event of ship damage, St. James seeks to avoid disputes with vessel owners by addressing stevedoring damages as quickly as possible. We realize that disputes cause nothing but delays, and delays cost money. St. James keeps their focus on the customer and works for quick resolutions that keep the supply chain moving.
Finally, in some cases, responsibility is painful...but it is the right thing to do. In 2005 and 2008 during Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, St. James was lucky to escape with limited damages to facilities and equipment. The opportunity existed to claim "Force Majeure" as our local area had experienced two of the most damaging natural disasters in the history of our country. This would have absolved St. James of its commitments to customers for vessel demurrage. Even as other stevedores in the area claimed force majeure, St. James made the commitment that they would not do so as long as they could ensure the safe operation of their equipment. Therefore, shortly after the storms finished and the waterways were opened to traffic, St. James resumed operations and made good on commitments to customers. Though this resulted in St. James having to back up its commitments by paying demurrage on vessels, it reinforced the message that when you send your cargo to St. James, we will ensure the safe and efficient transfer of that cargo no matter what obstacles we face.