Eagle Fab Is Busy Building Barges At St. Louis

Eagle Fabrication LLC, a division of Eagle Marine Industries Inc., Sauget, Ill., has built more than 90 barges since its first hull was launched 18 years ago under the supervision of Tim Thomas. Thomas, who is now retired, served as the division’s co-founder and managing member. His son, Matt, now runs the operation.

The company’s first barge was built by a crew of five fitters and welders. Since that time, Eagle Fabrication has completed its vast array of barges for many different applications. “In all the years we have done this, quality has never taken a backseat to quantity,” said Matt. “We are proud to say that we are still building barges to meet our customers’ specific needs.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Matt said he hopes to carry on his work ethic and determination. “The pride in a job well done, along with the need to always continue to evolve by further educating myself is by far the greatest lesson I have learned from my dad,” he said.

Eagle Marine Industries Inc., originally The Eagle Packet Company, launched the company’s first steamboat in 1858 near Warsaw, Ill.

Since 1860, the Eagle Packet Company and Eagle Marine Industries Inc. have been serving the St. Louis harbor, continuously providing services such as barge fleeting, barge transportation, intermodal bulk terminal facilities and fabrication of marine equipment. The company has owned and operated the 165-acre Sauget Terminal facility at Upper Mississippi River Mile 177.2 since 1973.

The company entered the barge-building business in 1998 and launched its first barge in November 1999. Since it began manufacturing barges, Eagle has earned a reputation as a builder of some of the sturdiest barges in the business. The company uses plating that is thicker than usual and spaces its trusses on five-foot centers, instead of the standard 10-foot centers.