American Commercial Line plans expansion in liquid bulk
The nation’s largest barge line has announced plans for a major expansion in the haulage of liquid cargo, and to lessen its emphasis on grain and other dry bulk cargo.
American Commercial Lines said it plans to increase its liquid tank barge capacity by more than 15 percent during 2008 with the addition of 30 new 30,000-barrel capacity tank barges, totaling about $75 million in capital expenditures.
The Jeffersonville, Ind.-based company noted that in 2006, its transportation revenues were comprised of 32 percent grain, 28 percent bulk, 24 percent liquids, 8 percent coal and 8 percent steel.
It said it would like to change that dramatically, so that its new mix would be 40 percent liquids, 20 percent coal, 20 percent bulk, 10 percent grain, 5 percent steel and 5 percent of capacity reserved for “emerging markets.”
“We are seeing progress on the demand side of our business in winning more freight for our transportation division and in improving our asset utilization,' said Mark R. Holden, president and chief executive officer. 'As a result, we are accelerating certain aspects of our strategy to foster organic growth.”
The company said it would establish the headquarters for its liquids transportation division in Houston, where Kirby Corp., the nation’s largest tank barge operator, is also based.
The company said it would retire an additional 200 dry barges, bringing the total number of retirements during the 15-month period to more than 500 units, or 20 percent of its dry cargo fleet. It also intends to cancel more than 100 dry cargo barges that were to be built during 2008.