Archive for March, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CBC Continues Operations Through Icy Conditions

This winter has brought some of the coldest weather in recent history to much of the United States. Similar to high-water risk in the springtime, winter weather brings risks to operations and can negatively impact execution within planned time and cost estimates. Though intense cold weather and ice present challenges, you can trust Canal Barge to execute a safe and secure transportation plan. We know that year-round customer needs can result in managing logistics in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Whether loading or discharging cargo, or transiting through harsh winter conditions, CBC reviews operating plans and takes every precaution to ensure the integrity of our customer’s cargo and the safety of the crews involved.

From late 2013 to March 2014, the Illinois Waterway endured iced-over conditions for over 90 days. This was the worst operating year on the Illinois River since the winter of 1977 when Chicago endured 43 straight days of sub-freezing weather. Continuing operations on the Illinois River and Ohio River during this severe winter meant adding horsepower to assist the tows as well as significantly reducing the tow size. Despite these measures, the conditions still caused significantly slower transit times while maintaining safe passage for our crews and our customers’ cargo. In fact, while operating for 3 months in continuous harsh conditions, our skilled mariners experienced zero injuries.

In order to keep our transportation system running and to meet our customers’ demands for cargo movement, we placed four additional boats with high-end horsepower on the Illinois River to assist in breaking up the ice and leading convoys of CBC tows through the ice, as well as assisting other industry tows. Some of our towboats endured minor-to-significant underwater damage, thus compounding the costs of this severe winter season. Though our tow size was reduced and the transit slowed, we never stopped our transportation system. Canal Barge Company continuously monitors operating conditions to ensure our logistics professionals, paired with our experienced mariners and diverse fleet, can move cargoes safely and efficiently from point A to point B, rain, snow, ice, fog or shine.

At Canal Barge Company, our goal is to partner with companies, both large and small, to help them efficiently reach their destinations. We believe our customer is with us every step of the way and we work to ensure valuable cargo is delivered on-time and on-spec. No matter the cargo, the origin or destination, our logistics professionals and highly skilled vessel personnel execute an efficient and effective shipping plan.

CBC's M/V Killian Huger breaks up ice on the Illinois River. Photo by CBC Pilot Darin Hawkins of the M/V Lydia Campbell.