Military ships vehicles by barge to inland depot
Ports in Texas and Louisiana have teamed up with a barge line and trucking company to provide an economical transportation alternative to the U.S. Army for equipment returning from the war in Southwest Asia.
Military vehicles being shipped to Red River Army Depot in East Texas were recently unloaded from an ocean-going ship at the Port of Beaumont TX and lifted onto a barge for inland waterway shipment to the Port of Caddo-Bossier, LA. Once there, the military vehicles - consisting mostly of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) and Humvees -- will be trucked the last 90 miles to the Army's repair depot near Texarkana. The movement by barge and transfer from the Caddo Bossier Port to Red River Army Depot was performed under a contract with the Army by Universal Truckload Services.
The 175 military vehicles are returning from deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. The military cargo was discharged over the past two weeks from two giant roll-on roll-off ships at the Port of Beaumont. The vehicles were part of the Theater Provided Equipment (TPE) that has been used by numerous military units in Iraq and Afghanistan since hostilities began and is now being returned to the U.S. Due to its heavy use in the harsh desert climate, the equipment is in need of maintenance and repairs at depots such as the Red River facility. Once the equipment is repaired, it will be deployed to military units and depots across the U.S.
The discharge of the vehicles at the Port of Beaumont and its loading onto four river deck barges provided by Canal Barge Company of New Orleans was coordinated by the Army's 842nd Transportation Battalion. The unit's commander, Lt. Col. Michael Arnold, said the barge shipment of equipment between the ports in Texas and Louisiana and eventually movement by truck to Red River Army Depot provides an economical alternative to traditional all-land methods of transportation.
"This was the first significant barge intermodal move of military equipment in several years," said Lt. Col. Arnold. "Typically, we would have shipped the vehicles by truck or by rail, but the intermodal barge move provided a means of moving a large amount of equipment in a cost-effective manner."
The 175 pieces of cargo would have required in excess of 70 railcars or 175 trucks had they been shipped directly from Beaumont to Red River Army Depot. Shipment by barge also allowed the Army to clear equipment from the port quickly. According to shipping guidelines, vehicles are required to meet a specific delivery date and be moved out of the discharge port within seven days.
Canal Barge Company provided four river deck barges to transport the vehicles from Beaumont to Caddo Bossier Port. One barge was 276 feet long and the other three were 180 feet long each. The tows were pushed by two tugs, the 2,400 hp Helene Maria and the 1,800 hp Aaron Vizier, both operated by United Tugs, Inc.
About the Port of Beaumont
A public deepwater ocean port located on the Neches River in Southeast Texas, the Port of Beaumont handles more military cargo than any other port in the U.S.
See www.portofbeaumont.com for more information.
About Canal Barge Company
Founded in 1933, Canal Barge Company haulsfreight throughout the US inland waterway system and in the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. The company's fleet of about 800 vessels includes barges configured to carry both liquid and dry bulk cargo. In addition to offering freight transportation, Canal Barge manages barge fleets, operates a barge terminal and and offers logistics services.
See www.canalbarge.com for more information.