The WorkBoat Composite Index started the new year off on a down note, losing over 100 points in January, or about 5%.

For the month, losers topped winners by a 4-1 ratio.

Kirby Corp. was down 18% in January. The Houston-based tank barge operator announced in late January that its net earnings for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019 was $2.8 million or five cents a share, compared with a net loss of $24.4 million or 41 cents a share for the 2018 fourth quarter. Kirby also announced that it will purchase the inland tank barge fleet of Savage Inland Marine for approximately $278 million.

“The purchase of Savage’s inland tank barge and towboat fleet represents an excellent strategic addition to Kirby’s inland marine fleet with young, well-maintained vessels,” David Grzebinski, Kirby’s president and CEO said in a statement.

Commenting on the 2020 full year outlook and guidance, Grzebinski said, “Our earnings guidance range for the year is $2.60 to $3.40 per share, reflecting continued growth in inland, flat to modest growth in coastal, and a modest earnings contribution from Savage which takes into consideration integration costs, the time needed to integrate the fleet, inherited contracts, and interest expense.”

Grzebinski said that “2019 was an exciting, but challenging year at Kirby. In marine, I’m pleased with the hard work and performance of our teams which delivered significant year-on-year financial improvement in both inland and coastal, successfully integrated Cenac, and safely navigated and overcame historic high-water conditions.

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.