Launching a barge is routine if you work at Jeff Boat (American Commercial Barge Line). After all, there's one each day, no champagne required. It's interesting to observe as a first-time viewer, as my Leadership Southern Indiana class did on Wednesday.
There are fascinating facts aplenty about ACBL/Jeff Boat, but this one does it for me: There's been a shipyard operating here continuously since 1834, as founded by the Howard family.
It flabbergasts me that as recently as the autumn of 2016, the narrative we were hearing during our segment at ACBL was one of unimpeded invincibility: 365 new barges per year, tugboats on the way, send us your trained welders ...and so on.
Now we're told the over-supply (and under-demand) of barges is such that it's cheaper to buy used than new, which seems to suggest that flooding the market with new barges might not have been such a good idea in the first place.
I don't know. As a skeptic, I can't help wondering whether there's an untold story here, like this closing always having been the design since ACBL acquired JeffBoat.
At the same time, the Ohio River shoreline currently occupied by the shipyard automatically becomes one of the hottest properties in the region for redevelopment, and perhaps greater than Colgate in Clarksville.
It boggles the mind. At least here in NA, we have an aquatic park. Like Rodney said on Caddyshack ...
... except for the welders, that is.
Jeffboat to shut down following rounds of layoffs, by David A. Mann (Louisville Business First)
Barge manufacturer Jeffboat LLC is set to close.
Louisville-based Teamsters Local 89, which represents workers there, was told about the closure last night after employees were informed, union president Fred Zuckerman said in an interview Saturday morning. According to Zuckerman, there are about 150 employees left at Jeffboat, but the operation will fully shutdown by the end of May. The union will start bargaining with management immediately to make determinations about issues such as severance, he said.
Management explained to the employees that a surplus of barges has meant that it's cheaper for Jeffboat customers to buy used rather than new, WDRB-TV reported last night.