The following is the text of a news release from The Greenbrier Companies Inc.:
(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.) (May 1) — The Greenbrier Companies Inc. announced today that its Gunderson Marine division in Portland, Ore., has received an order from Kirby Offshore Marine to build a second articulated oceangoing oil and chemical tank barge (ATB) to meet sustained demand. The order results from Kirby's exercise of its purchase option Greenbrier previously announced in January when Kirby ordered its first ATB.
The second ATB is identical to the vessel that Kirby ordered in January, a state-of-the-art 578-foot tank barge with a carrying capacity of 185,000 barrels. The second Kirby barge is scheduled for completion in the first-half of 2016. These barges are among the largest built in Gunderson's marine history. The order brings Greenbrier's current marine backlog to approximately $120 million, its highest level in nearly five years.
"We are benefiting from continued strong demand for the transportation of goods by oceangoing barge, particularly the transportation of petrochemicals, crude oil, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals," said William A. Furman, Greenbrier chairman and CEO. "As we recover from one the coldest North American winters in recent memory, we expect to see increased freight traffic across modes. This should benefit our marine and railcar manufacturing operations with associated demand for our other offerings in our Wheels, Repair & Parts and our Leasing & Services businesses."
"Gunderson is a great place to work, and Kirby's second ATB order along with other recent orders for both marine and rail products means we will be busy through the next several years," said Mark Eitzen, senior vice president and general manager of Gunderson. "We have recently welcomed more than 200 new co-workers to our Portland waterfront operations to support our expansion in manufacturing. We expect to add at least 200 more jobs in the next several months, all with competitive pay and benefits, bringing our total employment to over 1,000 workers."
Operating from the largest side launch on the West Coast, Gunderson is the only shipyard on the West Coast with successful experience in building large, articulated tug-barges. Gunderson has the capacity to build up to four large articulated tug-barge projects of this size per year.
Established in 1919 as a heavy steel fabricator, Gunderson has been a ship and marine barge builder since 1942. It entered the new freight rail car construction market in the early 1960s. Nearly 4,800 vessels have been built by Gunderson, with focus on large ocean-going barges. About 300 such barges have been built by Gunderson in recent years, including deck cargo barges, hopper barges, roll-on/roll-off railcar barges, dump scows, Panamax size vessels and double-hull oil barges. Operations have expanded dramatically over the past decade with substantial investment in facility enhancements and lean manufacturing efficiencies.
Gunderson, through its marine and railcar divisions, has more than 800 employees, with nearly 200 workers currently dedicated to marine operations. Located on 75 acres along the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., Gunderson is accessible year-round by oceangoing vessels and two transcontinental railroads, BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad. Gunderson is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.