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Profile K&C Shipping

K&C Agency


SMT operations

K&C Shipping has been SMT’s partnering agent in New Orleans and Houston for over 20 years. Agent Vince Barber of K&C speaks to the current conditions in these ports and explains how ship agencies like his are coping with the new realities.

We are pleased to report that COVID-19 has not adversely affected the movement of ships and/or cargo. In fact, in the last two months, our offices in both New Orleans and Houston, TX have successfully managed port calls for 8 vessels in the SMT managed fleet.

The vetting process for port entry and subsequent movements in port have gotten more complicated – but from a commercial standpoint it hasn’t changed the fixture possibilities, resulting ship movements, or cargo production. In fact, aside from the excess agent time needed to coordinate the ship movements – COVID-19 hasn’t even had a financial effect on port costs so far.

The public health and safety requirements start with pre-arrival vetting by the US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Customs and Border Patrol (CPB), when inspectors ask Masters to review and declare the current crew health status onboard. Similar declarations are required by the various pilot associations prior to each of their boardings. This is relatively easy at the Texas ports, but on the Mississippi River it can get complicated where 4-8 pilots might be utilized to get the ship in and out of port.

CBP is still making an effort to perform crew reviews, onboard face checks and cargo monitoring, but fortunately they have made some common sense adjustments to the vessel paperwork processing. Each port has some minor differences in the resulting process – but with proactive coordination with the Master, we can get through most of the necessary administration via scans and emails. Even the most basic functions like dropping off mail and courier packages are done without personal contact at the end of the gangway. This has reduced the need to expose anyone on shore or onboard to possible transmission risk.

Kris Roux and corona

Kris Roux and corona

One negative that we hope to see some improvement on soon is the difficulty with crew travel repatriations – this still proves to be difficult although not impossible.

We at K&C Shipping have been VERY lucky, as we have not yet seen any in-family cases of COVID-19. We’re going to hold that line if at all possible through our continued efforts to maintain social distancing and sanitation guidelines. We know that our local communities continue to face dangers from this pandemic. New Orleans now suffers from a 25% unemployment rate due to the severe lack of tourism and gig-worker opportunities. Parts of both Louisiana and Texas are actually experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases and everyone is still encouraged to minimize their exposure to everyone else – especially in closed spaces and close proximity.

Covid-19 testing


SMT Shipping maintains a strict Covid-19 testing protocol for all of its on-signing and off-signing crew.  Crew members must test negative for Covid-19 before they are eligible to sign on or off our vessels.  Pictured here are crew members undergoing testing in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

Video series of SMT’s transshipment project in Guinea

Since August 2018, MV Conakry Pearl has served as a transshipment station supporting Alufer Mining Ltd.’s bauxite mining operation in Bel-Aire, Guinea.  Here is a birds-eye view of the entire system: MV Conakry Pearl alongside an ocean-going vessel (OGV) and our two shuttle barges, Cape Verga I and Cape Verga Pearl II, which feed material to the transshipper.

And more videos of Conakry Pearl: