Main Iron Works, Houma, La., has been awarded a contract from Kirby Inland Marine to build four 2,680-hp inland towboats.

Work on the 88'x35'x12'2" towboats has already begun, and delivery is scheduled for August, October, and December 2018, the company said in announcing the contract.

All four vessels will be twin propeller 2,680-hp conventional towboats and will be added to Kirby’s inland towboat fleet. They will be used in the transportation of a variety of petrochemicals, refined products, oils and liquid fertilizers. Kirby’s inland service area spans the U.S. inland waterway network including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers, and other waterways. Kirby currently operates 998 inland tank barges and 302 towboats.

Cenac Towing Co., also of Houma, acquired Main Iron Works in 2015.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.