Main Iron Works To Build Four Towboats For Kirby

Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., CEO of Houma, La.-based Cenac Marine Services and owner of Main Iron Works, announced earlier this month a contract for the Houma shipyard to build four inland towboats for Kirby Corporation, the largest tank barge operator in the United States.

According to a press release from the shipyard, the contract calls for the four vessels to be delivered in August, October and December of this year, with two towboats delivered in one of those months.

“It is always a pleasure to partner with world class companies that generate the same level of high expectations and success as we do at Main Iron Works,” Cenac said in a statement.

Details of the forthcoming towboats were not immediately available. At present, Kirby operates some 841 inland tank barges and 227 towing vessels, which represent a total capacity of moving 17.3 million barrels of petroleum products. According to Kirby’s website, the company’s canal fleet, which operates on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Houston Ship Channel and the Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, La., ranges in size from 800 to 2,200 hp. Towboats in Kirby’s river fleet range from 2,000 to 5,600 hp., and the company’s linehaul fleet can range from 1,400 to 2,200 hp. and between 3,000 and 5,600 hp., depending on tow size.

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In operation since 1947, Main Iron Works was founded by Cenac’s maternal grandfather, Horace “Jack” Guidry. Cenac acquired the shipyard in July 2015. Main Iron Works offers new construction, refurbishments, vessel rebuilds, drydocking, dockside repairs, upgrades and machine shop services, as well as barge construction and refurbishments. New constructions at the yard include tugs, towboats, barges and scallop boats.