Company News

Chem Carriers Adding Two New Towboats

Chem Carriers LLC, Sunshine, La., has announced it is expanding. The liquid transportation firm, founded in 1994, is adding to its fleet of towboats, said Frank Banta, president. “We let a contract to Verret Shipyard to build two new towboats. The boats will be 76 by 32 feet and have 1,600 hp. from Mitsubishi engines,” he said.

Banta said the new towboats will serve as a prototype for future vessels.

“Over the next several years, we will be standardizing and upgrading our fleet of boats as much as possible in order to move towards vessels with like-kind systems that minimize training and spare parts,” he said. “We have plans to replace a few older boats and continue a slow growth pattern. We are currently at 42 barges and 12 towboats, and as our customers grow, we intend to grow with them to add value as a vendor.”

The two new boats, designed by Entech & Associates, will have retractable pilothouses for operation in the Houston area.

Construction has already begun—not at Verret’s Plaquemine, La. site, though, where space is limited due to Verret’s current volume of vessel work, but in Fort Smith, Ark. The shipyard maintains a team there to do steel work, when needed. After the shell is completed and it is transported back to the main shipyard, workers will install the engines and other equipment, and completely outfit the vessels.

“We’ve used this system before,” said Patrick Ledet, Verret’s office manager. “It works well, particularly when we can hitch a ride on a tow to our shipyard.” The first boat is due to be completed late in the third quarter, with the second to follow around the end of the year, he said.

Commenting on the boats for Chem Carriers, Ted Verret, president, said, “We’re happy to be working with Frank, our friend and neighbor across the river.” Sunshine and Plaquemine face one another at Lower Mississippi River Mile 208.