Barge manufacturer Trinity Marine Products will permanently close its barge yard in Port Allen/Brusly, La., laying off 283 people, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Wednesday.
Trinity Marine, a division of Dallas-based Trinity Industries Inc., has notified the Louisiana Workforce Commission that layoffs are scheduled to begin Oct. 23 and conclude by Nov. 30.
The company is a leading U.S. manufacturer of both tank barges and dry cargo barges, including flat-deck and hopper barges. Trinity Marine also makes fiberglass hopper barge covers, as well as deck hardware including castings, hatches, and winches for towboats and dock facilities. In 2014, Trinity built 148 tank barges — more than any other company in the U.S.
In an earnings call on July 24, William A. McWhirter II, a Trinity senior vice president and group president for inland barges, noted that while the group had reported “record levels of revenue and profit” during the second quarter of 2015, “demand for larger tank barges, that transport oil, is currently soft.”
McWhirter also noted that at the end of the quarter, Trinity began converting one of its manufacturing facilities to increase capacity for hopper barges. In 2014, the company had converted its Caruthersville, Mo., hopper barge construction facility so it could build more 10,000-bbl. tank barges.
According to the Advocate, the Port Allen/Brusly yard has closed before — shutting its doors for eight months in 2005 with 300 layoffs, and laying off 190 people in 2009.
“Trinity has done that several times over the years …. Usually it will shut down a while, but they usually always come back,” West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Berthelot Jr. told the Advocate. “And I hope that’s what will happen again.”