State Of The Industry: Economic Effects Of Fracking Felt Along
The Waterways Journal
20 January 2014
By David Murray
The many transformations of the American economy wrought by
hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the resulting new abundance of
both oil and natural gas continue to affect the barge industry in
myriad ways. Mostly because of fracking, U.S. crude oil production
is on pace to match its peak year in 1970, when it reached 9.6
million barrels per day. By 2008 it stood at only 5 million
barrels per day, but by the summer of 2013 had risen back up to
7.5 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy
One big beneficiary from the surge in oil and gas production has
been Kirby Corporation. which continues to acquire smaller
companies and to integrate its dominant network of coastal and
inland barge routes. Throughout most of 2013. Kirby has been
reporting barge utilization rates of 90 percent or above on both
its coastal and in-land networks. Kirby's stock reached $ 100 a
share for the first time recently.
Barge-builders have also been busy. Last year opened with a
tank-barge building boom that had Walter Blessey, chairman and
chief executive officer of Blessey Marine Services Inc., publicly
worrying about overbuilding. Ken Eriksen of Informa Economics
noted in an October symposium that 200 new tank barges had brought
the total fleet to about 3.500, bringing the average age of tank
barges down to about 20 years. from 25 years just a few years ago
(WJ, October 14. 2013).
Boom Continues For Texas Port
Jennifer Stastny, director of' the Port of Victoria, Tex-as,
reports that her port, at the epicenter of the Eagle Ford shale
boom, reached its milestone of handling 2 million barrels of oil
products per day during 2013.
"We're operating at a kind of dull roar now," Stastny told The
Having won an open bid. Devall Towing is building a barge fleeting
area at Victoria to relieve congestion along the 35-mile-long
Victoria Canal (WV, January 13). The port is adding another liquid
cargo (lock in an existing slip, and a container dock is under
construction, said Stastny.
Stastny said she has spent time persuading customers that they
could move goods cheaply to the port by container-on-barge. She
said the port will have an announcement "shortly' on the
The port also does a brisk business barging frac sand. Santrol, a
subsidiary of Fairmount Minerals and a lead supplier of
"proppant" (as the drilling industry calls fracking sand) leases
warehouse space at Victoria from Equalizer; it has six rail
terminals elsewhere in Texas serving Eagle Ford customers (see
accompanying story on Equalizer, this issue).
Drilling Can Move Fast
While Victoria's near future, at least, seems assured, Richard
Brontoli, executive director of the Red River Valley Association,
points out that the drilling business can be cyclical and
"A few years ago, our ports on the Red River were moving about a
million tons a year of sand and gravel to help prepare pads and
roads for drilling sites in the Haynesville Shale play," which is
located under east Tex-as and northern Louisiana. The oil
companies "had to move quickly to prepare the sites, because they
paid penalties if they missed deadlines," said Brontoli.
But as prices for the "dry" natural gas produced by the
Haynesville Shale play plunged. in part due to over-production,
companies temporarily closed those sites to focus on the Eagle
Ford Shale's oil and "wet" gas. which offers more revenue streams
because it is a feedstock for the chemical industry.
King Coal Dethroned
But the rising tide of fracking doesn't necessarily lift all
boats--at least, not right away. What fracking takes away, most
obviously, is coal.
For decades, coal has been the top commodity by tonnage moved on
the inland waterways. But a combination of the fracking revolution
and strict new EPA regulations on mercury emissions by power
plants have persuaded power companies to retire an accelerating
number of aging coal-fired power plants. Up until recently,
relatively few of these have been barge-served, but that is
On January 8, despite a four-month delay, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) posted its New Source Performance
Standards (NSPS) rule to the Federal Register essentially
unchanged from the initial version. The American Coal Council said
the rule "will effectively remove new coal plants as an
electricity generation option, while having no direct impact on
U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases."
On January 15, the energy news service Platts reported that quotes
for coal barges loading on the Upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers
for delivery to New Orleans had dropped clue to a lack of
available tons. Platts quoted unnamed barge industry sources as
saving that offers were hovering around $15 per short ton from St.
Louis to New Orleans, and $22 from the Big Sandy River to New
Orleans. Compared with years past, the sources said, those prices
should be between $20 and $28 per short ton.
All transportation modes have been affected by the coal slowdown.
CSX railroad warned on January 16 that despite its good results
last year, weak demand for coal was masked by one-time gains due
to real-estate sales and damage payments from utilities that
didn't meet their coal commitments. CSX said ongoing weak coal
demand will make it difficult to match the company's own targets
of between 10 and 15 percent growth in earnings per share from
2013 through 2015.
Mike Monahan, president of Campbell Transportation Company,
told The Waterways Journal, "The recent closing of the Hatfield
Ferry power station is just one of a number of announced power
plant closings by several utility companies in the last year.
Unfortunately, several of the power plant closings are located in
the river system and have been served by barge operators for years
.... [Even though the Hatfield plant had] new scrubbers, ...new
EPA regulations were going to require additional capital to remain
"The continued uncertainty of the EPA direction, and no end in
sight of raising the regulatory bar, has eliminated the ability of
utility companies to project long-term operating certainty for
coal fired power plants. The net result for the barge industry has
been the loss of a tremendous amount of coal tonnage on the inland
rivers, creating an oversupply of open hopper barge capacity."
Monahan said the changes present a "challenge to our business
Diversifying and Reinventing
The privately held Campbell has responded in several ways. In
201:3, the company built its first two towboats. the Renee Lynn
and Alice jean. It has opened a barge-cleaning and
glycol-recycling facility near Congo, W.Va., and has become
involved in shipping export coal to New Orleans, a potentially
profitable business that can have sudden surges but is subject to
Campbell is downsizing its hopper barge fleet, and converting 10
percent of its open hopper barges to covered barges that can
transport other commodities like fertilizer, grain, salt, cement.
finished steel, or fracking sand. Monahan said that he hoped the
local dry bulk market around Pittsburgh would stabilize and
present some opportunities in 2014.
Campbell is not the only barge company converting hopper barges.
"It's a good time to be making barge covers." river analyst Sandor
Toth told The Waterways Journal.
Campbell already provides towing services for "a number of
companies moving liquid barges on the Ohio River system." Campbell
is also positioned with our well-developed infrastructure to
sup-port the growth in the liquids markets
and provide an m-plant cleaning and sup-port service through the
Campbell Environmental Service Company located in Congo. W.Va.,"
said Monahan. Campbell has also built a new 150-foot drydock at
Congo. with help from a small shipyard grant from the U.S.
Maritime Administration (MarAd).
The real growth prospects for Camp-bell come from fracking and its
attendant industries, said Monahan. At least four, and possibly
five, companies are in various stages of exploring opportunities
to build ethane cracker plants in the Ohio Valley region. These
multi-billion-dollar investments would generate a number of both
"upstream" and "downstream" liquid products from "wet" natural
gas, most capable of being moved by barge.
Among the challenges barge companies will face entering the
liquids market may be competition from pipelines. The most
noteworthy of several planned projects, the Bluegrass Pipeline
project, is being developed by a partnership between Williams and
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners. In March. the partners announced that
their plan calls for a pipeline to move 200,000 barrels per day
from the Marcellus and Utica shale region to both the Gulf Coast
and the Northeast U.S.
Part of the pipeline network is already in place. while some
remains to be built. reversed. or converted from other uses. The
Bluegrass plans call for converting a section of pipeline from
Hardinsburg, Ky.. to Eunice. La.. to natural gas liquids from gas.
and building a new fractionation plant in Louisiana.
Williams and Boardwalk claim that "given current market dynamics
in the Northeast, existing liquids systems and local outlets will
be overwhelmed by 2016" by the expected volume of 1.2 mil-lion
barrels per day of natural gas liquids (NGLs).
The Bluegrass partners have said that they expect the pipeline to
be operation-al by the second half of 2015. "assuming all
necessary conditions are met." including receiving myriad state,
local and federal permits.
All Modes Overwhelmed?
But will even this additional pipe-line capacity necessarily
take business away from barges? Oil and gas output is expanding so
rapidly that all modes of transportation are benefiting. According
to the Association of American Rail-roads, U.S. Class I railroads
originated just 9,500 carloads of crude oil in 2008: by 2012. they
originated nearly 234.000 car-loads, and in 2013 the number was
closer to 600,000.
Several widely publicized rail accidents involving oil unit trains
may bring increased scrutiny to rail transportation of oil. The
most notorious derailment occurred last July 6, when a runaway oil
train exploded in the town of Lac-Mégantie, Quebec. near
Montreal. killing 47 people and putting a media spotlight on oil
transportation by rail.
The first two weeks of January alone saw two train derailments.
including one on January 7 in which a 122-car Canadian National
Railway train carrying oil and propane derailed and burned outside
of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. forcing the evacuation of 150
Fracking Water Potential
The potential of fracking-related barge work is well
illustrated by Green Hunter Resources LLC. which is taking the
lead in processing water used in fracking operations in the Ohio
Valley basin. Last March, it bought a 10.8-acre barging terminal
facility in Wheeling, W.Va.; last July, it opened a riverside
brine injection plant in Washington County, Ohio. The site opened
with a 1,200-barrels-per-day injection capacity, but will ramp up
to a capacity of more than 13,000 barrels per day.
GreenHunter is positioning itself as the industry-leading
processor of fracking-related water, of which there are three
kinds: so-called production water or fluid, naturally-occurring
water released along with oil and gas; flowback; and pit water.
According to GreenHunter president and chief executive officer
Jonathan Hoopes, the company doubled its revenues last year, from
$17 million to $34 million, and could do so again this year. Ht
announced a 10 percent dividend in its Series C Preferred shares
on January 8, and Hoopes told The Waterways Journal he is
currently raising about $35 million in investor capital for
expansion. The company is divesting sonic of its south Texas
assets to focus on Appalachia, he said.
GreenHunter is doing well even with-out barging. thanks to its
treatment wells and trucking operations. But Hoopes and
GreenHunter vice president John Jack made clear that they welcome
barging; they said the company is engaging in talks with several
barge companies, in anticipation of the Coast Guard's final
decision on barging tracking water.
Monahan said that although "Camp-bell believes hydraulic gas
drilling waste water shipments on the river will be a
cost-effective solution for shippers in the future... the actual
market size of transporting" this water "has vet to be
Right now, GreenHunter anticipates barge traffic of one or two
barges a week at its Washington County plant — to start.
Jim McCarville, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh
Commission, has already won kudos from the waterways community for
his innovative partner-ships that have developed the first
river-focused broadband network.
McCarville told The waterways Journal he has been in discussions
with engine makers, towboat companies, sup-pliers, and various
other groups about creating an "LNG corridor along the Ohio River,
in which towboats would in-stall LNG powered engines serviced by
The difficulty, the said, is that all the pieces of the puzzle
have to become operational at once, since they all depend on each
other. "It's a chicken-and-egg thing,"
"You won't get boat owners installing LNG engines until they're
convinced there's an adequate support network, but engine makers
want to know there'll be a critical mass of enough boat owners
in-stalling them before they make a commitment," he said.
Regulator changes may also have to happen, with rides governing
LNG fueling docks and operation and the design of LNG-powered
vessels. Present Coast Guard rules about how LNG-powered vessels
should be designed make such vessels more expensive to build than
But McCarville said new-builds alone won't be enough to convince
support players to jump into the market; retrofitting older boats
for LNG engines will have to be made economically attractive as
From Tonnages To Other Metrics
No matter how successfully Campbell and other barge companies
pivot away from coal toward the new economy created by fracking,
one thing seems clear: barge tonnages will likely drop, at least
in the short term. It only takes five barrels of oil to produce
roughly the same energy output as a ton of coal. Energy-efficiency
measures and incremental improvements to the power grid also keep
energy demand from rising as fast as it otherwise might.
For decades, barge industry proponents and opponents alike have
used tonnage figures as a (rough) measure of the health of
waterways industries. Environmentalists have been known to use
declining tonnage figures on a particular river or waterway system
to argue that the barge industry is "declining" or even "dying,"
as was said of the Missouri River barge industry (luring that
liver's decade-long drought.
Getting The Figures Right
One problem with tonnage figures, according to Dennis
Wilmsmeyer, director of America's Central Port just north of St.
Louis, Mo.-- who is also currently serving as president of Inland
Rivers Ports and Terminals Inc. — is that they are often wrong.
"Some of the tonnage data collected today tends to be estimates;
and in some cases, very bad estimates of what is actually moving
on our rivers. Not only do we believe that the overall tonnage
handled on our nation's rivers is grossly under-reported, but this
under-reporting can have devastating impacts. Two years ago, the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed reducing hours of operation
at locks whose tonnage movement was below a certain threshold.
This criteria was later changed to the number of commercial
lockages, but it certainly demonstrates how errant data can cause
real-life issues," Wilmsmeyer told The Waterways journal.
Equally controversially, the Corps of Engineers in recent years
has used tonnage figures of river ports to allocate scarce
dredging resources, denying dredging for those that move less than
a million tons a year.
"The numbers [of dredge-deprived ports] are growing dramatically,"
said Wilmsmeyer. Ports are having to either pay for dredging
themselves, or turn to state and local sources. "There is a mixed
opinion on whether this is rewarding bad behavior [by the Corps]."
said Wilmsmeyer, "but the reality is that dredging may not get
IRPT, along with other industry associations such as Waterways
Council. continue to lobby Congress to restore dredge funding.
Central Location Benefits Port
Wilmsmeyer port, formerly known at the Tri-City Regional Port
District, is well-positioned at the center of river, rail and road
networks, and was "relatively unscathed during the recession," he
said. Even 2012's low water benefited the port, causing "an
increase in barge traffic for offload to rail and truck" as
operators were concerned about river levels.
An economic impact study released in June 2013 estimated the
port's impact to Madison County. Ill., at 8282 million a year an
increase of 36 percent from its impact in 2007. With 75 industrial
and commercial tenants. the port loads or unloads 2.500 barges
each year and passes 2.5 million tons of commodities valued at
$1.1 billion each year.
A master plan prepared by the port in 2010 identified 11 landside
and 11 water-side projects; Wilmsmeyer said the port is "ahead of
schedule" and expects to complete the largest and most ambitious
project, the South Harbor expansion, by the fall of this year.
"2014 will be a big year for America's Central Port," said
Wilmsmeyer. "With new leases and facilities, it could be our best
year ever in terms of revenue...
New Study, New Metrics
Tonnage figures will continue to be collected and used, but
both McCarville and Wilmsmever believe the barge industry has to
stop thinking in terms of tonnage alone, and to start thinking
(and presenting itself) instead in terms of the economic impact
and reach of water-ways industries. especially in the number of
jobs it supports. McCarville believes that the "spinoff' effects
of oil and natural gas movement and processing may have more of an
economic impact than those of coal. Among other indicators of
economic vitality, new barges and vessels continue to be built at
a lively clip. IRPT is pushing for a Nationwide Inland Rivers
Economic Impact Study to gauge the true value the river system has
on this country, using many metrics.
"A study such as this has not been clone for a very long time and
would be used by nearly every port in the country to promote the
use of the rivers," said WiImsmeyer.
Jim Kruse, director of the Center for Ports and Waterways at the
Texas Transportation Institute, suggests one striking metric:
"Barges move 16 percent of America's freight for 3 percent of its
freight bill," he told The Waterways Journal.
"But apart from the savings that continue to make barge
transportation so at-tractive. we simply can't do without it
because the other surface transportation modes can't take up the
slack," were the barge industry to disappear. Kruse said.
Benteler Steel Plant
Despite Corps dredging cutbacks and Congress' failure so far to
adequate inland infrastructure maintenance, river locations
continue to attract new investment. Port directors on the Red
River system have welcomed several major new projects in recent
In September, construction began on a 5975 million barge-served
steel tube manufacturing plant in Caddo Parish. La., at the Port
of Caddo-Bossier, that, when finished in August 2015, is expected
to generate 675 jobs with an average salary of $50.000.
The plant, which will serve the needs of the expanding drilling
industry, is the first manufacturing facility to be built in North
America by Benteler Steel/Tube. a subsidiary of a global steel
company headquartered in Austria with 30,000 employees in 170
plants, locations, and warehouses in 38 countries.
At the groundbreaking, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal credited the
Red River Waterways commission and the Port of Caddo-Bossier with
helping to bring the plant to Louisiana. The construction work
will employ about a thousand workers. Benteler says construction
is on track to be completed in late 2014, with manufacturing
operations beginning in the second half of 2015.
Bio-Refineries Launch In Louisiana
In January, construction began at the Port of Alexandria, La.,
on the first of three bio-refineries to be built in Louisiana by
Cool Planet Energy Systems, for a total investment of $168
million. The second plant will he located at Natchitoches, and the
third at "a site to be determined." The Natchitoches plant will
begin construction in the summer of 201.5, with an estimated
completion date in summer 2016.
Using a proprietary process called the carbon-negative fuel cycle,
the plants will make high-octane, low-vapor pressure gasoline from
wood waste and forest products for barging to blending facilities
at Louisiana refineries, after which the company says the fuel
will be usable for vehicles. Feedstocks can include wood chips,
grains stubble. dead trees that have been killed by pests, corn
cobs, sugar-cane, or switchgrass.
Each plant's output will be about one-hundredth that of typical
refineries, but the plants can be located close to biomass
sources, the company said, enabling them to produce gasoline for
the target $50 a barrel, competitive with traditional refineries.
The plants will also market biochar, a refining by-product that
farmers use in the soil to reduce carbon loss from crops and to
increase water retention.
Cool Planet, headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo., describes
itself as "deploying disruptive technology through
capital-efficient, small-scale bio-refineries to economically
convert nonfood biomass into high-octane gasoline, jet fuel, and
diesel fuel." The company's backers include Google Ventures,
Energy Technology Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, and a
division of Exelon. Its business model calls (or it to build 400
micro-refineries across the U.S. over the next 10 years.
Cool Planet's bio-refineries will be well-positioned to take
advantage of' a biomass-based diesel-use mandate under the
Renewable Fuel Standard of' the Energy Independence and Security
Act of 2007, which rose to 1 billion gallons for 2012 and is
assumed to remain at that level for subsequent years. Some
biodiesel production above this mandate is assumed to meet a
portion of the advanced biofuel mandate of the Renewable Fuel
Challenges For Red River
Despite all the positive news. Brontoli said the J.
Bennett Johnston Waterway faces several challenges. Dredging "is a
challenge since we are reduced in dredging funds," he said.
"We were able to get supplemental funds two years ago, which
helped us get through this present fiscal year. Mother Nature has
also cooperated, and we have not had high-water events on the Red
River in the past year to deposit silt in the pools. The
Mississippi River has also remained high enough to keep drafts
greater than nine feet below Lock 1."
Another threat ignored except by local meddia is the rapid spread
of an aquatic fern pest, giant salvinia. Most national media
attention on aquatic threats goes to the possibility of Asian carp
migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes, on
which the Corps of Engineers
just released a final report (WJ, January 11).
Giant salvinia in a lock
on the Red River
A Brazilian import, giant salvinia was first found in Caddo Lake
in 2006; it is now "becoming a major challenge for navigation and
recreation," Brontoli told The Waterways Journal. If conditions
are right, the plant pest can grow from a two-leaf sprig to a
40-square-mile mat in three months.
One solution employed by ports has been to import from Brazil and
release one of giant salvinia's natural predators, a weevil that
eats its leaves. Red River officials have also used mechanical
removal and spraying with herbicides to reduce infestations.
Silicon Plant Breaks Ground
On the Tennessee "Tombigbee system, the big news so far in 2014
was the groundbreaking on January 13 of a 8200 million
barge-served industrial silicon metal plant at Burnsville, Miss.,
100 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn., and close to the Northeast
Mississippi Waterfront Industrial Park.
The Mississippi Silicon plant will pro-duce silicon metal for the
aluminum, automotive and chemical industries in the U.S. and
Canada, with some product possibly going to Japan or South Korea,
ac-cording to company officials. Mississippi Silicon is a
strategic partnership between Rima Holdings USA, Inc., and
domestic investor group Clean Tech I, LLC.
The project had previously been pro-posed for neighboring Lowndes
County, but stalled due to what Mississippi Silicon chairman of
the board John Correnti de-scribed to local media as "unreasonable
demands" by county officials. Richard Vicintin, Rina's chief
executive officer, revived the project. Vincintin had been looking
all over the world for a place to build the plant, but Mississippi
officials, including Gov. Phil Bryant, persuaded the company to
locate the plant in Tishomingo County.
The state provided a total of $21.5 mil-lion for construction and
workforce training, according to the Northeast Mississippi News,
and Tishomingo County kicked in a $3.5 million infrastructure
loan. Bryant's office told local media that Mississippi has seen
81 billion in new investment in the state during 2013, and the
creation of 6,265 new jobs, compared to $455.5 million in new
investment and the creation of 2,664 new jobs during the previous
When the 100-acre plant opens some-time between 18 months and two
years from now, it is expected to provide about 200 jobs with
average salaries of $55,000 each. It will use coal, wood chips and
quartz chips as feedstocks for its two furnaces.
Bruce Windham, administrator of the Tenn-Tom Development
Authority, told The Waterways journal that traffic and tonnage on
the Tenn-Tom system has "gone up steadily over the past several
years, due mostly to steel and chemical products." Tonnages of
forest products, including wood pellets exported to north-ern
Europe, have declined somewhat, he said.
While Windham welcomes the uptick in overall tonnage, he agrees
that tonnage alone doesn't tell the whole waterways story.
Eugene Bishop, executive director of the Yellow Creek State Inland
Port Authority at Inka, Miss., notes that several of his port's
tenants move heavy-lift, high-value cargoes whose value cannot be
captured by tonnage alone.
Iuka's waterfront has attracted several steel-fabricating plants
in recent years. PSP Monotech, which makes large components for
power plants, expanded its Iuka property in 2006. G&G Steel
opened a facility in the port in 2007; it makes some of the
world's largest fabricated metal components for industrial and
infrastructure-related projects, including bridges, locks and
mining equipment, virtually all of which must move by barge.
"Oversized products really can't be shipped economically any other
way," Windham notes.
In 2012, Contract Fabricators Inc. moved into the
97,280-square-foot facility at Yellow Creek formerly occupied by
Dynasteel. CFI manufactures large pressure vessels for oil
refineries, power plants, and chemical plants, as well as heat
exchangers, stripping columns, cyclones, dryers, and other large
While ports develop and the market moves forward, the barge
industry continues to wait on developments in Washington. Shortly
before press time, the omnibus funding bill called the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 was released by House and
Senate leaders. WCI said it was "pleased" with the bill's
waterways provisions, noting that it "significantly increases
spending for critical port and navigation channel improvements,
with $1 billion provided from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund."
The 81.012 trillion bill includes a 8748 million increase in
waterways spending from the FY 2013 .post-sequester enacted level.
Despite last year's encouraging passage of the Water Resources
Reform & Development Act versions in both houses of Congress,
it is not not signed into law. The American Waterways Operators'
top legislative priority this year is, of course, to continue to
shepherd WRRDA through the conference committee and to the
president's desk, working closely with the WCI and other advocacy
Craig Montesano, director of legislative affairs at AWO, told The
Waterways Journal that while a "quick finish" in January and exit
of WRRDA from the conference committee that resolves differences
between the House and Senate versions of the bill is not as likely
as was once hoped, he remains optimistic about its passage.
"There are differences on language that remain to be worked out,"
he said, but these are not ideological; the spirit of
bipartisanship that marked its overwhelming vote or passage in the
House last year continues to prevail.
Montesano is also optimistic about the Coast Guard's
policy on barge transportation of fracking wastewater, which he
says AWO is following closely as the Coast Guard collects comments
to prepare for its final version.
Vessel Discharge Bill
After WRRDA, AWO's next top priority is a new hill that would
establish uniform national standards for vessel discharges to
replace the patchwork of requirements from the states. The two key
senators here are Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.),
who are expected to introduce the new bill "soon, according to
Montesano. "We feel more optimistic about this issue now than we
did in 2012," he said.
Rubio has a seat on the powerful Committee on Commerce, Science,
and Transportation, as well as on two of its important maritime
subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries,
and Coast Guard, and the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation
and Merchant Marine lnfrastructure, Safety, and Security.
Apart from specific legislative goals, Montesano said the AWO will
continue to reach out to relatively new legislators, perhaps two
thirds of whom have been elected to Congress since the last
passage of a WHOA in 2007. Montesano agreed that it's common for
the barge industry's friends and enemies alike to use tonnages as
a measure of the industry's health.
"We have a good story to tell. because our industry has been a
reliable job-creating engine for decades." he said.
Ann McCulloch, director-public affairs and communications for AWO,
adds, "This is a dynamic industry that is making many positive
impacts and actively preparing for its future. We would agree that
tonnage is only one measure of how to examine the industry — many
factors come into play. We think it is best to take a holistic.
approach that encomopasses not only tonnage, but employment and
revenue generated as well as industry investment in new vessels