William G. Schubert, a Texan who graduated of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1974 and who now operates a marine consulting business in Pinehurst, Texas, has been selected as the nation's next maritime administrator. Schubert, who formerly worked for the Maritime Administration in Washington and at its regional office in Houston, is president of International Trade and Transportation Inc. He has about a dozen years of seagoing experience and has an unlimited masters license.
The Bush administration is expected to make a formal announcement of Schubert's nomination later today or Monday.Contacted at his office, Schubert declined to comment until the confirmation process is completed.
Comments in an October 1999 article of Traffic World magazine show that Schubert has a detailed knowledge about some of the problems that shippers encounter when trying to find U.S.-flag ships on which to move cargo. Discussing breakbulk shipping, he noted that since 1995 the U.S. breakbulk fleet had been in 'unprecedented decline,' with only 14 ships available, and none equipped with heavy-lift gear capable of handling loads in excess of 150 tons.
Schubert is 'a terrific choice. He's the man for the time,' said former Maritime Administrator John E. Graykowski.
He said Schubert had worked closely with Marad and shippers to achieve a compromise on cargo-preference rules for projects funded by the Export Import Bank. By law, such cargo is supposed to move on U.S.-flag vessels, but finding breakbulk ships, especially with heavy cranes is difficult, and shippers sometimes need to obtain waivers to use foreign-flag vessels.
'With him we achieved a solution that is acceptable to the shipping community,' Graykowski said. 'But Bill is completely committed to the U.S.-flag ships.'
He described Schubert as a leader who can 'bring people together and take the hot rhetoric out of discussions.'
Eugene McCormick, the former chief executive of Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. and president of the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association, said that Schubert was 'a great choice. He is a man from the industry who understands the shipping business. That should be good for America.'