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VOL. 133 | NO. 97 | Tuesday, May 15, 2018

American Queen Steamboat Co. Moves HQ Out of Memphis

By Bill Dries

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The American Queen Steamboat Co., which brought back the overnight river cruise business on the Mississippi River, has moved its company headquarters from Memphis to New Albany, Indiana where its parent company is headquartered. (Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

American Queen Steamboat Co. has moved its Memphis headquarter to New Albany, Indiana, in what the riverboat cruise company describes as “an effort to synergize shoreside operations with parent company HMS Global Maritime.”

The written statement from a company spokesman says the company “remains committed to the Memphis community,” noting that the American Queen and American Duchess will continue with 67 trips in which Memphis is the beginning or the end of cruises.

“Memphis is one of the American Queen Steamboat Company’s most popular ports and we look forward to continuing to put the destination center stage for our guests,” the statement reads.

Originally called the Great American Steamboat Co., the business built around a refurbished American Queen – the world largest steamboat – revived overnight riverboat cruises on the Mississippi River when the company was launched in 2011. At that point, the cruise business had collapsed twice before in 2009.

Executives of the former Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and other veterans of the river cruise business created the company to revive the industry a third time. And the American Queen was followed as the national recession lifted by other riverboats owned by other companies that were once again in the river cruise business. Like the American Queen Steamboat Co., many of those other businesses do other types of cruises.

The city loaned the company $9 million in federal funds to refurbish the American Queen – a loan approved by federal maritime administrators and repaid with an $89 docking fee for boats docking at Beale Street Landing.

The revenue went toward reviving and completing Beale Street Landing in time for the April 2012 inaugural trip of the refurbished American Queen from Memphis.

The company had been leasing office space in the One Commerce Square building Downtown.

Great American Steamboat Co. also began with local investors, including Pittco Management as a substantial investor and others assembled by Morgan Keegan & Co., helping the company to close on the purchase of the boat from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

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