While inland tank barge construction is booming, the market for big oceangoing deck barges is not quite so bullish. Chuck Garman, a vice president at Gunderson Marine, Portland, Ore., said that business is still suffering in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon well blowout and spill.
“But we’re hearing positive things from the Gulf, which is good. And we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries in February and March from contacts we made at the WorkBoat Show last year. So there’s some energy there.”
Garman said Gunderson just launched a 380’x96’x23′ deck barge for Northland Services, Seattle, that will carry cargo to Alaska and Hawaii. The barge has a maximum deck load of 4,000 lbs./sq. ft. The yard is also working on a 362’x105′ deck barge for Oregon’s Sause Brothers. Launch date is June 1.
Gunderson is also building a pair of 216’x52′ chip barges with 18′ bin walls for Dunlap Towing, Everett, Wash.
On Swan Island, across from Gunderson on the Willamette River, US Fab, formerly known as US Barge, is still building barges, despite the name change. The Vigor Industrial company just got an order from Harley Marine Services, Seattle, for a 250’x70’x15’8″ deck barge. To be called Iliuliuk Bay, the barge is designed to house a 230-ton lift capacity Manitowoc 4100 crawler crane. The design also features D-rings, to secure containers up to three high, as well as eight lashing bars running fore and aft for other cargo such as heavy construction machinery or general equipment. “We needed a workhorse to replace our existing barge,” said Jim Weimer, general manager of Alaska-based Pacific Coast Maritime, a subsidiary of Harley Marine. — Bruce Buls