Barge builder Jeffboat going out of business

(JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind.) — Jeffboat, one of the largest inland shipbuilders in the country, is going out of business, the Courier Journal reported.

President and CEO Mark Knoy said in a prepared statement that the company will close after it finishes construction of remaining barges by the beginning of May. 

"With orders running out and no future backlog of business, the shipyard will launch its last barge sometime in the middle of April," Knoy said.

The closure comes in the midst of a heavy lull in the barge industry, according to the statement. At its peak, Jeffboat had more than 13,000 employees. Currently, it has around 220 employees, the statement said.

Jeffboat has not decided what it will do with its 65 acres of riverfront property.

"For me, this is heartbreaking news that the boatyard will be closing," said Jeff Cooper, a former worker at Jeffboat and recording secretary for the Teamsters, which represents hourly workers at the company. "Like so many others, I started my career there as a young man working as a first-class welder and pipefitter. I have met so many great people over the course of time there."

Jeffboat began operating in 1834. The company also owns American Commercial Barge Line LLC, which operates 3,600 barges and 140 boats. Knoy said ACBL would not be affected by Jeffboat's closure.

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By Professional Mariner Staff