United Abaco Shipping and Marsh Harbour Shipping became Abaco Shipping when the two companies merged in 2004. In business since the mid- nineteen seventies, the two companies have catered to the shipping needs of Abaconians with the help of ships such as the Margarita I, the Margarita II, the Duke of Top Sail and the Duchess of Topsail, only to mention a few.
Abaco Shipping founders consists of a group of Marsh Harbour and Man-O-War Cay families, the ones who originally owned Marsh Harbour Shipping and Abaco United Shipping, respectively. They presently operate the 2,000 ton, MV Duke of Top Sail, which has been under the command of Captain Michael Bethel for many years.
The ship which is capable of moving over 1,000 tons of freight, offers a weekly service between West Palm Beach, Florida, Arawak Cay in Nassau and Abaco, at the Port of Marsh Harbour. The company maintains offices at the three locations with Gulfstream Lines acting as receiving agents in West Palm Beach. Office personnel in Nassau and Marsh Harbour assist people with receiving and pick up of freight as well as answering questions in respect of shipping their freight to the islands.
Both dry, chilled and frozen food can be accommodated as well as automobiles and large equipment.
One of the owners stated that the success of the company – in spite of competition from other companies- can be explained by the rigorous weekly schedule maintained by the “Duke”, as the ship is popularly called by the locals.
Except for the Christmas Holidays, whether rain pelts or sun shines, the residents of Marsh Harbour have grown to expect the blue steel vessel to be entering the channel on time every Tuesday, often heralded to the port by a large flock of seagulls.
From the establishment of Marsh Harbour Shipping until today’s date, the group of Abaco Shipping Company has been in the shipping business in excess of thirty eight years.