The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Martime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportationâ€™s Maritime Administration has agreed to guarantee loans of $40.8 million to enable the Canal Barge Company, Inc. of New Orleans, LA, to order nine asphalt barges and 30 open hopper barges.
The asphalt barges will be used to carry home heating products, and the hopper barges will carry coal for the generation of electricity. All the vessels will be built by Trinity Marine Group, at its yards in Missouri and Louisiana.
â€œPartnering on projects like this leads to jobs and new orders for U.S. shipbuilders,â€ said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. â€œWhen such an opportunity presents itself at a low risk to the government, it makes sense to pursue it.â€
The total cost of the barge construction project is $46.6 million. The Maritime Administration loan guarantees are for 87.5 percent of the actual value of the project. Loan guarantees are not loans, but are roughly the equivalent of co-signing for a consumer loan. If the transaction proves sound, then the cost to the federal government is minimal.
Based on shipyard cost estimates, the project will result in 270,000 hours of work for Trinity Marine. Assuming a 40-hour week, this works out to a yearâ€™s employment for 130 workers. The Canal Barge project brings the Maritime Administrationâ€™s loan guarantee portfolio to approximately $2.5 billion. The portfolio includes a variety of vessel types including tankers, tugs, barges, dive support vessels, drill rigs, ferries, offshore supply vessels, and container vessels.