The Greenbrier Companies' Gunderson Marine division in Portland, Ore., was awarded a contract from Kirby Offshore Marine to build an articulated oceangoing oil and chemical tank barge, with an option for a second unit. The 578' tank barge has a 185,000-bbl. carrying capacity. Construction on the Kirby barge will begin in June 2014, with completion scheduled in 2015. 

Operating from the largest side launch on the west coast, Portland, Ore.-based Gunderson has the capacity to build up to four large ATB projects of this size per year. This order, along with awards being finalized, will Gunderson's current marine backlog to about $70 million. 

Houston-based Kirby has also ordered a 10,000-hp ATB tug from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Freeland, Wash., to be mated with the Gunderson-built tank barge. The tug is scheduled for a mid-to-late 2015 delivery.  

The ATB's cost will be $75 million to $80 million, according to Kirby. Upon delivery, the ATB will be chartered to a major customer for a four-year period with a one-year extension option. 

"With the coastal fleet utilization around 90 percent, increasing demand for the coastwise movements of crude and natural gas condensate, and continued progress in expanding our coastal business to inland customers, new capacity is needed to meet demand," said Joe Pyne, Kirby’s chairman and chief executive officer. "The 185,000-barrel ATB unit has the flexibility to access ports that restrict larger vessels, while still delivering large volumes of product for our customer.”