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Ohio River Shipyard to be Shuttered

Thursday, March 29, 2018

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The United States’ oldest inland shipyard will close this spring, according to its parent company.

Jeffboat, in Jefferson, Indiana, has been in continuous operation for more than 180 years, supplying mainly barges for traffic on the country’s major rivers. It lies on the Ohio River, where it was founded in 1834 as the Howard Shipyard.

220 to Lose Jobs

According to the Associated Press, the shipyard’s workforce had dwindled to 220 employees; the union representing them, Teamsters Local 89, confirmed Saturday (March 24) that the facility would be closing.

Jeffboat, via Vimeo

Jeffboat, on the Ohio River in Jefferson, Indiana, will close this spring.

“It’s a very sad day for a lot of hard-working, ship-building craftsmen and craftswomen,” union business agent Jim Kincaid, a former Jeffboat employee, said in a statement. “We are going to do everything in our power to find these brothers and sisters other jobs and help them to pick up the pieces.”

According to Workboat, management alerted state officials in February of plans to lay off 226 workers, but at the time did not disclose plans to close the facility permanently.

Jeffboat is part of American Commercial Barge Lines, which plans to stay in operation.

“While we're very sorry that market conditions have left us with no choice but to close Jeffboat,” CEO Mark Knoy told the AP, “the shipyard closure will not have an impact on ACBL's barge freight business or its customers, vendors and teammates.”

Future Use

Originally, Jefferson Mayor Mike Moore said he envisioned another shipyard taking over the space, but after Jeffboat announced it did not plan to reopen or sell to another shipyard, Moore shifted his focus to a commercial and residential development at the property.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Marine Coatings; NA; Newbuilding (marine); North America; Program/Project Management; Ships and vessels; Shipyards

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