Second wave of layoffs at Jeffboat

Barge builder Jeffboat has begun a second round of layoffs at its Jeffersonville, Ind., shipyard, raising to more than 500 its job losses since November.

In a notice to state labor officials, Jeffboat senior vice president and general counsel Dawn Landry said layoffs beginning this week and proceeding through at least April will claim 226 positions at the Ohio River facility, reportedly the largest and oldest inland shipyard in the U.S.

In the notice — a document required of Jeffboat under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) — Landry said the fall in demand for new barges led to the layoffs. Jeffboat does not plan to close the shipyard “but we expect the separations will be permanent within the meaning of WARN.”

The oversupply in the barge sector began hitting Jeffboat even as it delivered 10 new barges in the first six months of 2017. In an early November WARN notification to Indiana officials, Jeffboat said it would lay off 278 workers through March 2018.

While barge operators Kirby Corp. recently said they foresee some modest recovery coming on the tank barge side, the sector remains overbuilt and new barge production has declined precipitously.

New tank barge deliveries in 2017 were likely at their lowest level since at least 2000 according to River Transport News, which noted that the 2014 building record of 344 new vessels had dropped to 112 by the end of 2016.

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

1 Comment

  1. Christel Frantz on

    I am so sorry to see this decline.
    Hopefully in the future, everyone in maritime, marine and shipping will feel and reflect an upwards bounce and trajectory.

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