The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that rising demand for river barges is keeping western PA manufacturer Brownsville Marine Products busy, and the company plans to hire more workers.
The business of building barges for use on American inland waterways is doing well in part because barges were retired faster than they were being replaced about a decade ago, said James McCarville, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission. When the recession hit in 2008, more barges were retired.
Since then, new economics have entered the inland shipping business. Barges that used to ship coal and other products from Pittsburgh to Kentucky now are shipping coal as far away as New Orleans. Instead of a barge's being in service on a five-day trip, it's now five weeks, McCarville said.
"We need more barges, and we need more towboats," McCarville said. River traffic is not back to pre-recession levels but continues to grow every year, he noted.
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