<< Back to Announcements

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Times-Picayune: “Single Barge Spawned New Orleans Firm”

The New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, featured Canal Barge Company in the December 7, 2011 edition, highlighting our business, our people and our industry. This is another example of our commitment to being active members of the communities in which we live and work.

The transcript of the story is below, or to view the full article, please click here.

President of Canal Barge Says He Values His Workforce
Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2011, 6:38 PM
By Richard Thompson, The Times-Picayune

Exactly 78 years to the day after his grandfather started the Canal Barge Co., Merritt Lane III said Tuesday that while “the technology really hasn’t changed that much” for the tow and barge industry, plenty has changed since the New Orleans company got going with a single barge hauling fuel along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in 1933. Speaking at a monthly meeting of ACG Louisiana, a local chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, Lane, who took the helm of Canal Barge in 1994, said the company now has 595 employees and operates 823 barges. He stressed the importance of the maritime shipping industry’s contributions to the national economy, even though it is often “out of view.”

Canal, which specializes in transporting liquid, dry and deck cargoes, as well as storing bulk liquid products, has expanded considerably in recent years, including a 2007 acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ inland marine fleet of seven tugboats and 14 tank barges, and the 2008 deal that netted Illinois Marine Towing, which handles towing, fleeting and shipyard services along the Illinois waterway.

Lane, who started at Canal in 1986 before becoming president and CEO, said his more than two decades at the company have taught him the importance of “working with our employees, rather than seeing it as an input into our business.”

For an industry that depends on training and maintaining a ready workforce, Lane described his motto as “hire for attitude, train for skill,” and said Canal plans to spend $2.7 million next year on mariner training initiatives.

“We see them as the future,” he told the group. “We talk to 20 individuals to hire one ‘green’ deckhand.”