Company News

Update: Savage Acquires Progressive Barge Line

Note: This is an update of an earlier post that appeared on December 28, 2018. This update includes quotes from officials of Savage Inland Marine and Progressive Barge Line and a listing of the towboats involved.

Savage Inland Marine announced December 28 the acquisition of the assets of Progressive Barge Line, a premier bunkering and tank barge operator in the New Orleans area. According to Savage, the acquisition includes a total of seven towboats and 12 tank barges.

In addition, Savage has acquired Progressive’s two fleets on the Mississippi River within the Port of New Orleans. About 60 Progressive employees, both vessel crews and shoreside staff, will join Savage.

Savage, which in 2017 acquired the liquid bulk division of Settoon Towing, has been rapidly expanding its Gulf Coast marine operations, which now includes 100 liquid tank barges, 42 dry cargo barges and 48 boats all involved in marine transportation, bunkering, vessel management, dock operations, barge fleeting and logistics.

“We’re excited to grow our inland marine business through the acquisition of Progressive’s young fleet of well-maintained inland tank barges and towboats,” Savage President and CEO Kirk Aubry said in a statement. “We’re also pleased to welcome new team members to Savage who will contribute to the success of our customers and the company.”

Vessels acquired in the deal include the mv. Freedom (1,570 hp., built in 2002), the mv. Independence (2,400 hp., built in 2015), the mv. Justice (2,300 hp., built in 2007), the mv. Old Glory (2,400 hp., built in 2008), the mv. Patriot (2,000 hp., built in 2011), the mv. Spirit (1,570 hp., built in 2005) and the mv. Uncle Sam (2,000 hp., built in 2010). The 12 tank barges acquired range from just under 11,000 barrels in capacity to about 30,000 barrels.

“This is a young, very well maintained fleet of boats and state-of-the-art liquid tank barges with all the newest gauges and equipment,” said Josh Knichel, director of development for Savage Marine. “The fleet includes many split cargo barges capable of carrying different types of fuel for bunkering.”

Knichel added that, while Savage is already performing bunkering services in Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas, the acquisition of Progressive will expand Savage’s reach to New Orleans. The team members and assets from Progressive will continue to operate out of and serve the New Orleans market, Knichel said.

“All of these new team members bring a ton of experience and knowledge, and with an average tenure of 24 years, we are excited to have them on board,” Knichel said.

Knichel offered a special thanks to the late Terry Boffone, the former president of Progressive Barge Line who passed away in August 2018.

“We started talking with Terry about the possibility [of acquiring Progressive] a while back, and he was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the deal,” Knichel said. “We were saddened by Terry’s passing in August and want to recognize what a great man and leader in the maritime community he was.”

Frances Boffone Keuhne, daughter of Terry Boffone, has led Progressive as president since the beginning of 2015. Knichel said he’s excited for Keuhne to continue leading the New Orleans bunkering operations as part of Savage’s team.

“We’re grateful to have Frances as part of our team and welcome the leadership ability that she brings,” Knichel said. “She’ll continue to help run the day-to-day operations of the business and will ensure excellent continuity of service for customers.”

Savage is a comprehensive supply-chain company founded in 1946. With operations in North America and around the world, Savage offers supply-chain services via rail, marine and truck transportation and logistics, materials handling, and other industrial services. Progressive Barge Line was founded in 1977 and specialized in bunkering services in the Port of New Orleans and line hauling between Corpus Christi, Texas, and Mobile, Ala.