October 15 - Speaking in a conference session on the second day of the Breakbulk Americas event in Houston last week, representatives of five large EPC companies were upbeat on prospects for the project cargo industry, outlining that it was "not all gloom

Despite the fact that the global economy is generally seen as being in a poor state, growth is ongoing and there are planned projects under way on almost every continent, noted John Crockett, director of procurement and subcontracts at Houston-based Foster Wheeler USA.

Peter Jessup, vice president of supply chain management at EPC giant AMEC, told delegates to the meeting of companies involved in the shipping of heavy lift, project cargo, and traditional breakbulk cargoes, that there were capital projects currently being negotiated worth "billions of dollars", with many of these being in Latin America.

Art Wardlaw, vice president of procurement for the Americas at French company Technip, observed that the increasing amount of onshore and offshore drilling in North America had resulted in an abundance of cheap natural gas. Edward Ruane, executive director of US based Fluor Corp, concurred with the overview, stating that he saw a "rosy" time ahead for natural gas and renewable energy projects.

The final speaker in the session was John Townsend, vice president of procurement and materials for Houston-based global engineering, construction and services provider KBR, who agreed with the general consensus of the speakers that there were "a lot of big projects" on the horizon.