Interview: Bill Gotimer sees Plaza Marine serving dredging industry’s complex needs
The Plaza Marine Group is the largest bunker supplier in the United States to dredging companies on the East Coast.
The Group has grown commensurately along with industry needs, product innovations and the environmentally sound means.
As a company offering a broad diversity of distribution, sales, storage and strategic planning services, their customers have come to know them as the “one stop shop”, resulting in cost savings and reduction in scheduling delays.
Enough reasons for Dredging Today to arrange a meeting with Mr. William G. Gotimer, Jr, The Plaza Marine Group President, who provided us with invaluable insight into the company’s business and development plans and their most important projects on the horizon.
DT: As an introduction to some of our readers who are not familiar with your company, what can you tell us about your business, the beginnings and where is Plaza Marine Group today?
William G. Gotimer: Plaza Marine Group is privately-owned and has served the Northeast marine bunker market since 1988. I have been associated with the group for the better part of three decades, first as legal counsel and since 2017 as President.
Our CEO and owner, Peter M. Proscia, founded the company to provide quality physical supply in New York Harbor and has more than 35 years’ experience in the marine bunker market.
While the company has grown significantly over the years, we remain nimble enough to give every transaction the priority it needs. Our highly experienced people are intimately aware of the specific needs of each of our customers.
In the dredging industry, this means arranging on-time delivery to assure the dredging vessels continue their work without any interruption.
Plaza Marine specializes in the MGO and ULSD markets with dredging companies an important segment of its business. We have physical operations in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New England, The Great Lakes and Panama delivering dockside, by barge and by truck.
Additionally, we serve dredging companies in the Southeast and Gulf regions in concert with an array of suppliers.
Due to our experience, an increasing number of companies look to us for advice beyond simply purchasing and delivering their bunkers. We can and do provide assistance to customers in a number of important areas.
DT: Overall, 2020 and 2021 were challenging around the globe in many ways, how did your company sail through that period?
William G. Gotimer: Covid-19 and the resulting safety measures affected our operations to a much lesser degree than other industries and companies.
As a company that routinely responds to inquiries 24 hours a day from home, we had a relatively easy time transitioning to working outside the office.
Of course, the last two years affected our customer base, vendors and suppliers but we managed to make the necessary adjustments.
We are proud that we maintained all our usual operations and maintained all our relationships through the period. Our size and scope allows us to quickly adjust to changing conditions to best serve our customers.
DT: What is in the pipeline at the moment and what are you and your team currently working on?
William G. Gotimer: The recent increase in port funding will lead to a number of significant dredging projects in the areas we serve. We are fully cognizant that the supply of bunkers to the dredging equipment be seamless and uninterrupted.
While always keeping cost in mind, our mission is to provide quality bunkers on time and in sufficient quantities to assure the operations of our customers continue unabated.
With the nascent offshore wind farm projects moving steadily ahead, we see tremendous growth opportunities in our areas.
The simultaneous increase in dredging and wind projects provide both opportunities and challenges for everyone in the industry. Equipment, collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will be heavily dependent on the physical delivery infrastructure we provide.
To that end, we are encouraging our customers to look ahead and make bunkering arrangements with a company like ours.
Our services, including hedging capabilities, can help companies assure bunker supply at competitive prices while simultaneously reducing internal expense.
DT: Do you believe that dredging industry can make a difference in improving the environment’s quality, and what is your opinion on this?
William G. Gotimer: All of the dredging companies we serve use the cleaner distillate fuel that we supply. As part of our service to customers we advise them on the fuel restrictions in the locations they operate.
The maintenance dredging and channel deepening our dredging customers perform allow the efficient movement of cargo through the affected ports.
In general, anything that performs an essential service with cleaner fuels and promotes efficiency has environmental benefits. That being said, we expect the use of alternative fuels and technologies to play an increasing role in future dredging operations.
DT: Sustainability now comes in many forms, and as an important part of the dredging industry, you have knowledge, data and expertise to make a positive difference. What are your priorities when it comes to creating sustainable dredging solutions?
William G. Gotimer: Sustainability in any form is really just the ability to change as new opportunities or challenges arise. Our thirty-plus year track record at Plaza Marine is one of resiliency and adjustment.
The dredging industry is no different than other industries that seek to avail themselves of the most recent technology with an awareness that long term success requires foresight and responsibility.
There is no question that the investments made by the dredging companies are made with that in mind.
Plaza Marine is well aware that the most sophisticated of vessels working on projects big and small can lose efficiency if their bunker supply delivery is not on time or on spec.
The companies that act most responsibly in terms of planning, safety and diligence will be those that sustain their operations far into the future. The advancement of cleaner technology including fuel choices is clearly becoming the key to sustainability.
We are determined to assist our customers in those areas as we have for decades.