Equitable Reopens Louisiana Shipyard To Build Coal Barges

Equitable Shipyards, Inc. has reopened its Madisonville, La., shipyard to begin construction on 39 coal-carrying hopper barges for the Indiana Michigan Power Company, Ft. Wayne, Ind.

John Dane III, president of the Trinity Marine Group that includes Equitable, said the reopening of the Madisonville shipyard is significant because it reflects increased activity in inland waterway transportation, and because it will aid the economy in the Madisonville area with approximately 150 new jobs.

The nearly $8-million pact calls for the construction of twenty-four 175-foot by 26-foot by 11-foot barges, and fifteen 195-foot by 35- foot by 12-foot barges. Construction has begun and all 39 barges will be completed by February 1989. Mr. Dane added that negotiations are under way to secure additional business to keep the plant open on a long-term basis.

The E qui t a b l e / M a d is on ville shipyard was opened in the early 1940s. It produced approximately 7,000 barges and boats before its close in 1985 with the decline in the offshore energy industries and inland waterway transportation. At its peak, approximately 600 persons were employed at the facility. Mr. Dane said the Madisonville shipyard is being reactivated because it was designed to produce barges and has all of the manufacturing equipment to meet the high quality standards and production schedules demanded by barge operators. The barges were designed by Shearer & Associates, a New Orleans naval architecture firm.

The Trinity Marine Group is owned by Trinity Industries, Inc. of Dallas, Texas. In addition to the two Equitable shipyards, the group includes Halter Marine, Inc. shipyards in Moss Point, Miss., and Lockport, La., Moss Point Marine, Inc. in Escatawpa, Miss., and Gretna Machine and Iron Works, Inc. in Harvey, La.

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