A regional freight barge manufacturer has gained an Environmental Protection Agency award for efforts to reduce greenhouse gases emitted from its fleet.
Ingram Barge Company received the EPA’s SmartWay Excellence Award for its commitment to CO2 emission reduction, making it the first barge company to do so.
Vice President of Vessel Engineering Tom Smith says the company’s emissions reductions commitment goes back nearly 20 years. He says along with environmental stewardship, there is also an economic incentive to consider.
“Fuel is very large cost to anybody in the transportation business, one of the largest costs," said Smith. "So reducing fuel consumption reduces costs but it also means cleaner air for everybody to breathe. Maintenance costs and engine costs are higher, but the fuel reduction offsets that.”Smith says barges are still the most cost and energy-efficient mode of transportation.“The barge and towing industry can move a ton of cargo about 800 miles on one gallon of fuel, and rail is probably about 500 miles per gallon of fuel and trucking is somewhere below that and your emissions are directly proportional to the amount of fuel consumed," said Smith. Ingram is Nashville-based with an operation in Paducah and operates some 4,000 barges and over 140 tow boats on the Mississippi, Tennessee and Illinois Rivers and other inland waterways.