Jeffboat, Jeffersonville, Ind., is building two new 200'x35'x15' steel hopper barges for Ashton Marine LLC, North Muskegon, Mich. The barges, AM 2100 and AM 2101, will both be ABS loadline classed to carry up to 2,100 tons of cargo each. The barges will have drafts of 12'7" fully loaded.

“We saw that there were no loadline barges up on the Great Lakes, and there really hadn't been any since the 1970s,” said Philip Andrie, Ashton’s owner and president. “These barges will do a lot of work on the lakes but will be able to operate on the river system without having to transload.”

Ashton bought the 2,600-hp tugboat Candace Elise about two years ago from Dann Ocean Towing, and the 100'x32' tug will push the new barges. “We think there is a real opportunity for these types of barges up here,” said Andrie.

The barges are scheduled to be delivered in early October. Ashton has an option in the contract with Jeffboat but couldn’t say whether it will be exercised as this time.