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Barge Transportation: Safer & More Environmentally Responsible than Rail or Truck

An extensive study from the U.S. National Waterways Foundation highlighted the energy efficiency of water transportation versus that of rail and truck. The study found that on average, a standard inland barge moves a ton of cargo 647 miles on a single gallon of fuel, whereas the same ton per mile efficiency a rail car will achieve 477 miles per gallon and a truck a mere 145 miles per gallon. Given that Moran’s oceangoing dry cargo barges are on average 10 times larger than the prototype barge referenced in this study, the relative practicality and efficiency of using Moran marine transportation versus rail and truck is substantial.

More importantly, moving cargo by barge is far safer than using rail and truck transport. Barge safety metrics are superior in all areas including safety for people, the environment and the communities where we operate. Noteworthy too, is the far lower level of harmful greenhouse gases emitted by barge shipping in comparison to rail and truck transportation with rail emitting 3 times more CO2 and trucks 10 times more CO2 than barges per ton-mile of cargo moved. When considered together, these comparative facts make obvious the many benefits of moving cargo via barge.

Why Choose Moran for Your Bulk Transportation Needs?

Evolving to Meet Customer Needs

When you need to transport your bulk cargo safely, reliably and on time, consider partnering with Moran as we have been engaged in the coastal transportation of solid fuels for decades. Over that time, we have built a hard-earned reputation as a dependable fuel transporter for the electric generation industry, having capably served some of the nation’s largest electric generators and industrial users for many years.

In recent years, lower natural gas prices brought about by technological advances in domestic oil and natural gas production, have significantly reduced the volume of coal and solid fuels consumed by coastal electric generators. To remain competitive and dynamic, Moran has adjusted its cargo mix to keep pace. Today it is not uncommon for the Moran bulk fleet to be carrying not only coal and petroleum coke, but also agricultural fertilizers, raw sugar, gypsum, limestone, cement, scrap metal, steel coils, wheat, corn and rice, for a variety of industrial accounts.

Our Fleet

Our bulk fleet consists of five ocean going dry cargo vessels operating primarily along the US Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean basin. With vessel sizes ranging from 15,000 to 27,000 tons, our vessels are a versatile size to fit a variety of market niches.

Our largest vessel is the 27,000-ton articulated tug and barge (ATB) VIRGINIA / MARY ANN MORAN which regularly runs between New Orleans and Puerto Rico. In fact, Moran is the leading bulk transporter of US grown agricultural products destined for the island of Puerto Rico.

Our 20,000-ton barge CAROLINA typically transports agriculturally based cargoes as well. However, unlike the VIRGINIA, the CAROLINA’s freight is associated with the production side of the agriculture business, as the CAROLINA is a significant domestic transporter of phosphates and other crop nutrients for an industry leading farm supplier.

Our 15,000-ton barges (the SOMERSET, PORTSMOUTH AND MONTVILLE) move a mixture of cargoes for a variety of charterers. These 15,000-ton barges were all originally constructed with a similarly unique shape and design that incorporated one single hold, making them ideal for homogenous cargoes and large structural or project cargoes.

Exhibiting the same characteristics as the standard inland hopper barge, our single hold 15,000-ton barges have no structural barriers or obstructions in the cargo area which significantly reduces the amount of time required to load and discharge. Once cargo operations are complete, the barge’s hatch covers, which are stacked while in port, are deployed. This provides a watertight barrier to prevent rain or sea water from entering the cargo hold, ensuring cargo integrity during transit. Some of the more unique cargoes that we have carried in these barges over the years have included steel beams, pipe sections, windmill blades and even locomotives from Brazil.

Our Commitment to Safety and Service

Of course, high quality, high performance service doesn’t just happen. So how do we do it? We start by resolutely sticking to a focus on safety from the top down through all levels of our organization. Training, monitoring, reassessing and continuously striving for improvement is our never-ending habit loop. The result – our outstanding safety record – speaks for itself.

About our safety philosophy, practices & results ›

The Moran Difference

The people who work at Moran, both shoreside and on our boats, are a key reason why our customers stay with us for so long – often decades. Our crews receive the training, equipment and leadership necessary to do their jobs properly, safely and efficiently. With one of the lowest employee turnover ratios in the industry, our people know their roles and understand our customers’ requirements inside and out.

To differentiate ourselves from our competitors, Moran provides world class service and attention to detail with our professional shoreside management team constantly looking out for the best interests of our customers. Furthermore, we spare no expense in maintaining our equipment to the highest standards, ensuring safe, reliable and intelligent marine cargo transportation service. At the end of the day, we believe that a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.

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