DELIVERING ON A POSITIVE REPUTATION
Canal Barge Company credits its stability and longevity to catering to every client’s needs.
Founded nearly a century ago in New Orleans, Canal Barge Company’s core principles remain the same today as they did from day one — an unwavering philosophy built on trust and efficiency providing the foundation to what is one of the most respected independent marine transportation companies anywhere.
“Really, what we do is concentrate on areas where we have specialized knowledge, providing logistics solutions for our customers,” says Porter Randle, manager of sales for CBC’s Deck Cargo Marketing. “We’ve been in this business for almost 83 years and we use that experience, stick to our core values and proven methods that over the years have earned our good name and customer trust, but we do it using every modern advantage we can.”
From humble beginnings — Canal Barge started with one tank barge — the inland waterway powerhouse now flaunts a fleet of over 860 barges and 37 towboats. Offering a variety of services to a diverse portfolio of clientele — from Fortune 500 companies, engineering firms, construction giants and even the United States government — Canal Barge still has not outgrown its founding ideals and sense of place.
As Randle says, despite handling cargo belonging to household name businesses and earning awards, praise and recognition along the way, Canal Barge remains “a third-generation family business.”
Never was that family business-vibe more tested than during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Determined to be on the front lines of the then-tattered region’s economic revival, Canal Barge returned its day-to-day operations to south Louisiana roughly 100 days after landfall. Not only were most employees retained, but also dozens of new workers were interviewed and hired.
“Our people make a difference,” Randle says. “As a company, we’ve more than doubled in size since Hurricane Katrina and even though there’s certainly a high level of professionalism here, it still has that family feel. So it’s the best of both worlds at Canal Barge.”
Randle says the company’s leaders wanted to stay in Louisiana and participate in the rebuilding process. That affection for the state and the region is also exhibited in its company-wide commitment to environmentally safe practices. Within Canal Barge’s Code of Conduct reads the line, “We will strive for maximum personal and environmental protection recognizing our responsibility and commitment to a safe and clean environment in which we live and work.” All CBC employees are expected to not only follow that belief, but also similar company ethical pillars outlined in its Environmental Sensitivities Policy and Canal Barge’s Safety and Health Policy.
The commitment to limiting the company’s environmental thumbprint has made Canal Barge Company a leader in forging the American Waterways Operators Responsible Carrier Program, an industry-developed safety management system designed to eliminate accidents, injuries and spills. Additionally, the company has won William M. Berkert Award recognition two times for Marine Environmental Protection from the U.S. Coast Guard and various other national environmental achievement honors.
Another area in which CBC proudly excels is the depth to which their people will go to find practical, efficient yet innovative ways to fulfill a company’s shipping requirements. To do that, Canal Barge stresses full transparency and straightforward and effective communication between company and client.
Despite having a large customer list of companies producing a variety of distinct materials, Canal Barge employees find the time to maintain one-on-one relationships with those they are serving.
“We know our business. We know it well. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” Randle says. “But what we like to do is learn our customers’ business and the challenges they face, really have a deep understanding of it because from there we can develop a deep understanding of their needs to the finest detail. Because the better you know them, the better you can help them in both the short and long term.”
By William Kalec