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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CBC in the News

The current drought conditions affecting the heartland of America are now impacting the river industry as water levels continue to drop. Canal Barge Company has been approached by news organizations, both local and national, to provide insight into the inland marine industry and how we manage through major water events.

The TIME Magazine article “The Not-So-Mighty Mississippi: How the River’s Low Water Levels Are Impacting the Economy” by Josh Sanburn was featured on the TIME Business site July 30, 2012. Josh interviewed Merritt Lane, Canal Barge Company President and CEO, and other industry representatives to report on the impact our industry has on the national economy. Click here to read the full article.

Paul Murphy from New Orleans news organization, WWLTV, interviewed CBC Senior Vice President of Marketing David Lane on July 30 to highlight the local impact of low water levels on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Click here to watch the full story.

On July 29, 2012, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans featured the article “Drought Could Hurt Local Shipping Industry” by Richard Thompson, which included comments by Merritt Lane as well as other New Orleans shipping industry representatives. Click here to read the full article.

David Lane was also interviewed by The Weather Channel on July 23 about the low water levels on the inland river system and their effect on both the barge industry and the national economy. David conducted a two-part interview via Skype. Click here to watch the part one of the Weather Channel interview. To watch the second part of David’s interview, click here.

CBC is committed to safe operations in times of extreme high water, low water, or normal river conditions, always ensuring the safety of our people, our equipment and the environment.

Friday, June 22, 2012

2011 Jones F. Devlin Awards for Maritime Safety

On June 12, 2012, the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) honored the U.S. Maritime Industry for safe marine operations at the Annual Safety Awards Luncheon held at the Loews Hotel in New Orleans. Jones F. Devlin Awards are given to vessels that have operated for at least two years without a lost-time injury.

At Canal Barge Company, we know that confidence starts with good people and we are proud to announce a total of 17 CBC towboats and 3 Illinois Marine Towing (IMT) towboats earned 2011 Jones F. Devlin honors. Two CBC vessels have operated 16 consecutive years without a lost-time injury! Canal Barge continues to be proud of our exceptional crews for demonstrating our strong commitment to safety and environmental stewardship.

MV ELIZABETH HUGER – 16 years
MV ELIZABETH LANE – 16 years
MV NED MERRICK – 13 years
MV CHOCTAW – 10 years
MV LIBERTY – 10 years
MV SPIRIT – 10 years
MV MARY LUCY LANE – 8 years
MV CAROLINE – 6 years
MV MARIAN HAGESTAD – 6 years
MV HAMILTON – 5 years
MV ELLY LANE – 5 years
MV JOSEPH M. JONES – 5 years
MV LAKE CHARLES – 5 years
MV BULL CALF – 4 years
MV KILLIAN L. HUGER – 4 years
MV MERRICK JONES – 3 years
MV INNOVATOR – 3 years
MV CHANNAHON – 2 years (IMT vessel)
MV WILLIAM C – 2 years (IMT vessel)
MV WINDY CITY – 2 years (IMT vessel)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Responsible Carrier Program Major Factor in Oil Spill Reduction

The recent U.S. Coast Guard Report to Congress released May 7, 2012 on Improvements to Reduce Human Error and Near Miss Incidents cited the Responsible Carrier Program (RCP) developed by the American Waterways Operators (AWO) as a key significant factor in the decline in oil spills from the towing industry since the late 1990’s. The report was mandated by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, which directed the USCG to identify the types of human error that could cause oil spills and the most frequent types of near-miss oil spill incidents involving vessels, identify gaps, and make recommendations for improvements. Canal Barge Company is proud to be fully compliant with the AWO Responsible Carrier Program and believe that Safety Management Systems like the RCP are the best way to achieve our goal of zero incidents.

Click here to read the June 8, 2012 AWO Newsletter which featured a story on the report. To access the full report given to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CBC Participates in USCG Cadet Towing Vessel Rider Program

On May 9, 2012, Canal Barge Company hosted U.S. Coast Guard Cadets Collin Gruin and Joshua Villafane  as a part of the Cadet Towing Vessel Rider Program. The program was launched in the beginning of May 2012 at the academy with an orientation program about the inland towing industry. The program places 16 participating USCG Academy cadets on commercial towing vessels to learn about inland navigation across Coast Guard sectors around the country from where they joined their assigned towboat companies.

CBC Operations and HR leaders provided an orientation on the inland marine industry as well as our company and operations. The cadets also spent time aboard the MV Joseph Merrick Jones learning about our operations first hand. We are committed to working with the USCG on the development of smart regulation and inspection programs to ensure the safety of our crews, equipment and customers’ product. Canal Barge is proud of our mariners, Operations and HR leaders for participating in this important program.

WorkBoat Magazine recently featured a story highlighting the program and highlighted CBC’s involvement. Click here to read the full story on WorkBoat.com.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coast Guard Steps Up Inspections of Towboats

The US Coast Guard will step up their efforts to inspect inland towboats and tugs July 1, 2011 as a part of the Towing Vessel Bridging Program (TVBP). The TVBP was initiated by a partnership between the Coast Guard and industry to smooth the transition to the forthcoming towing vessel inspection regime. The program allows towboats to be examined for compliance with current regulations to ensure they have a strong foundation for becoming inspected vessels. So far, the USCG has inspected 2,887 towing vessels that volunteered to be inspected in the 26 states that fall under the Coast Guard’s Eighth District, which is headquartered in New Orleans.

Canal Barge Company volunteered for the program and was recognized in October 2010 for achieving 100% compliance with the Towing Vessel Bridging Program. CBC was one of the first inland marine companies to have all 23 vessels awarded Uninspected Towing Vessel (UTV) decals. The decals signify a vessel has satifactorily completed the voluntary examination process through the TVBP. As our fleet grows, we are committed to this inspection program and working with the USCG to ensure the safety of our crews, equipment and customers’ product. Canal Barge is proud of our onboard mariners and our Operations Team that proactively led this voluntary program to completion for our fleet to ensure we always move with confidence.

To read more about the inspection program and the collaboration between our industry and the US Coast Guard click here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

CBC Hosts Chad Pregracke of Living Lands & Waters

On May 3, 2012, Canal Barge Company invited Chad Pregracke to speak to our shoreside employees in the New Orleans office. Chad is the founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, a non-profit organization focused on protection, preservation and restoration of the nations’ major rivers and their watersheds.

Chad grew up on the upper Mississippi River and is a passionate advocate for a healthy and sustainable waterway system for our nation. In 1998 at the age of 23, Chad founded the organization where he and his crew conduct river clean-up projects in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries. Since the project’s inception, Chad, his crew, and over 60,000 volunteers have collected over 6 million pounds of debris from our nation’s greatest rivers.

CBC is committed to being stewards of the environment. We look forward to working with organizations like Living Lands & Waters to learn about initiatives and be an active participants in keeping our waterways clean, safe and sustainable.

To learn more about this great organization, please check out the website: www.livinglandsandwaters.org

Chad’s work was recently spotlighted on the CBS Morning Show. Click here to view the clip.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

‘Our Nation’s Waterways Keep America and Its Products Moving’

Waterways Council, Inc., the national public policy organization that advocates for a properly funded and well-maintained system of inland waterways and ports, partnered with the United Soybean Board to create a video demonstrating the many benefits the inland waterways system provides our nation. Maintaining an efficient waterways system is critical to the long-term success of our industry and to our nation’s economy. Click here to watch the 30 second video. You can also visit the Waterways Council, Inc. website to learn more about their ongoing efforts to keep the inland waterways system a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

Our Nation’s Waterways Keep America and Its Products Moving

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Texas Transportation Institute’s Study – Impact of Locks and Dams on America’s Agriculture Economy

The Texas Transportation Institute’s Center for Ports and Waterways conducted a study titled America’s Locks & Dams: “A Ticking Time Bomb for Agriculture?” analyzing the significance of the waterways system to America’s agricultural economy and the potential national impact should a catastrophic failure of lock and dam infrastructure happen. The study was commissioned by the United Soybean Board.

The deteriorating condition of the nation’s lock and dam infrastructure imperils the ability of marine transportation to provide consistent service that enables the U.S. agriculture industry to continue to compete. Maintaining America’s an efficient waterways system is critical to the long-term success of our industry and to our nation’s economy.

Please visit WaterwaysCouncil.org for more information or click the link below to view a the official study.

TTI Study on America’s Locks and Dams

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fortune Magazine: “The Untamable River Trade”

Fortune Magazine featured a story, “The Untamable River Trade – Barge Operators Wage a Continual, Chaotic, Slow-Motion Battle of Logistics,” in the December 26, 2011 issue that highlighted the value of our industry to the nation’s economy and the importance of waterways infrastructure funding. The story was also featured on CNNMoney’s website. The author, Ken Otterbourg, spent time with CBC crews aboard the M/V Elizabeth Lane, which operates in the Tennessee Valley Authority trade; visited the Seamen’s Church Institute’s training center; and interviewed many other industry representatives including Merritt Lane, CBC President & CEO.

This is another example of CBC’s commitment to sharing our story and working to increase understanding of our industry’s tremendous value to the American economy and way of life.

To view the story, please click here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NPR Features “In Katrina’s Wake, New Orleans Enjoys Startup Boom”

On December 29, 2011, NPR’s Morning Edition program featured a story on New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery, highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit of the city.  “In Katrina’s Wake, New Olreans Enjoys Startup Boom” by Debbie Elliott, is part of NPR’s “Hard Times: A Journey Across America” series, in which two reporters travel across the U.S. reporting on how the difficult economy is affecting people.

CBC is committed to the recovery and development of the New Orleans area and we are proud of Tim Williamson of Idea Village, Jessica (White) Shahien of 504ward, and Michael Hecht of GNO, Inc. for representing our city in this piece. To listen to the story, please click here.

The transcript of the story is below.

In Katrina’s Wake, New Orleans Enjoys Startup Boom
December 29, 2011
By Debbie Elliott

New Orleans has long been known as one of America’s hardest luck cities, struggling over the years with poverty, crime and corruption and tragic disaster. But the city’s darkest days have sparked a surprising new entrepreneurial spirit.

Residents Billy Bosch and Matt Mouras, for example, are trying to launch a nutritional beverage company and are getting a leg up by Idea Village, a nonprofit that helps nurture the city’s entrepreneurs.

“We have people that have had experience building businesses, people that have already gone through the process that are coaching us. And they’re also extremely connected locally. They can put us in touch with the resources we need as a start up,” Mouras says.

Idea Village co-founder and CEO Tim Williamson says the organization has helped some 1,100 businesses get off the ground.

“It’s meant to be a place for you to trust your crazy ideas,” Williamson says.

And some of those ideas are taking hold. Inc.magazine has called New Orleans “the coolest startup city in America.”

Williamson says it’s no coincidence the entrepreneurial boom came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“Katrina did many, many things, but one is the next day everyone became an entrepreneur. We were all starting over in some way,” Williamson says. New Orleans was closed, he says, so there was nothing to lose by trying something new.

Allison Plyer, deputy director of the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, says that entrepreneurial spirit was never part of the climate here before.

“New Orleans historically has been very much a third-world economy — the exploitation of raw materials, in our case, oil — [and] cheap labor. So there wasn’t a lot of drive to innovate,” Plyer says.

Plyer says before 2005 when Katrina struck, New Orleans lagged the nation in startups. Now the city exceeds the national average by about 30 percent.

The new ventures include software companies, digital media firms and industries that have developed to handle some of the problems Katrina posed — water management and education reform, for example.

Young people have flocked the city, most of them with college degrees — reversing a decades-old brain drain problem. People like Jessica Shahien, 25, who left for college and had no intention of coming back home.

“I saw New Orleans as kind of a corrupt, sort-of backwards place. I wasn’t going to inherit a family business, I wasn’t going to go into hospitality or oil and gas, so why would I stay?” Shahien says.

But she says Katrina rekindled her connection to the city. Now she’s running 504ward, a play on the New Orleans area code. It’s a brain gaininitiative aimed at keeping young adults in the city.

“You can be a 20- or 30-something and really make a difference really quickly. They come thinking it will be an adventure and then they have the opportunity to do something they would have to wait 10 years in another city to do,” Shahien says.

Nolan Rollins, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, has been working to make sure the city leverages the post-Katrina investment and new business climate, and that minorities aren’t left out.

“This is our ‘Go West, young man.’ This is really the opportunity to make a difference from a generational standpoint,” Rollins says. “If we aren’t making sure they’re a part of the new economy, we’re going to destabilize our economy, there’s going to be no ability for the city to actually grow.”

And that’s been a challenge with the entrepreneurial boom, says Plyer.

“It is not including a lot of the long-time residents of New Orleans. So it’s primarily white folks,” Plyer says. “There are not a lot of African-Americans who are involved in the ecosystem as it’s getting developed.”

Painter Myesha Francis, 32, with her own gallery in the arts district, is an exception. Francis doubts she’d own her own business by now if she hadn’t gotten a start two years ago at the Entergy Innovation Center in the Ninth Ward, one of several entrepreneurial hubs in the city.

“I don’t think it would have happened this fast because the Innovation Center made it possible for me to have the space and be able to work because the rent was reasonable,” Francis says.

Now she’s in a prime location but does struggle to find enough business. “People still spend along color lines — along who they like, who they know, who they don’t know,” she says.

She says some of the city’s old ways hang on. Francis has had to turn to nontraditional lenders, for example, to borrow money for her business. Venture capital has long been the missing piece in the economy here. But even that’s changing, as new angel investors look to fund nontraditional companies.

Clayton White is co-founder of the year-old South Coast Angel Fund.

“You don’t have to be connected to the right rich person to get investment. Now you just need to know we exist,” White says.

The state has helped with angel tax credits, and other incentives for startups. And it has invested nearly $50 million in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. It’s four stories of modern lab suites designed to commercialize technologies coming out of local universities.

“A lot of the research that was being done down here would just remain in the lab or sit in filing cabinets or it was being licensed away,” says Aaron Miscenish, president of the downtown center.

Now, young graduates can work on scientific breakthroughs right here in New Orleans — by testing old DNA samples that would otherwise be sitting, gathering dust.

For example, a company called InnoGenomics is trying to develop new DNA marker systems to work even in disaster conditions. The idea came to InnoGenomics CEO Sudhir Sinha after he was unable to identify victims of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans’ future depends on keeping and growing this kind of intellectual talent, says Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc., an economic development alliance.

“How do we ensure that this new culture, which is forward leaning, which is optimistic, becomes the permanent new New Orleanian culture and is not just a bit of rebuilding euphoria?” Hecht says.

He’s hoping the city’s low cost of living and famed lifestyle will help. For someone under 35, he says, the ability to make a meaningful impact and also have fun is a “pretty unbeatable cocktail.” Pun intended, he says.