Priceless Protection

American Commercial Barge Line

When a towboat and barge routinely transport petroleum safely without a spill or injury, they build a track record that can be as valuable as the cargo they carry.

American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) of Jeffersonville, Indiana, prioritizes being safe and environmentally sustainable. Founded in 1915 as a coal moving business on the Kentucky River, they have since grown into one of the largest and most diversified marine transportation and manufacturing companies in the country. ACBL makes about 4,000 fuel transfers throughout the U.S. Gulf Coast and inland waterways each year and has earned a long list of safety and environmental awards.

"We have 2,000 mariners out there every day doing very high-risk work, and we're very proud of our safety record," said Bill Foster, senior director of vessel engineering. In fact, 74 ACBL towboats were recognized with the Chamber of Shipping of America's Environmental Achievement Award in 2015 for operating at least two years with no spills. "We're steadily growing that number," added Foster. "We're always looking for opportunities to improve spill-prevention training for our towboat crews, and we’re also investing in tools and technology to improve the safety and efficiency of our vessels."

To comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions and Coast Guard regulations, ACBL began upgrading and adding new vessels to its fleet. They've added John Deere generator drive and auxiliary drive engines to its towboats and barges — including two 24-meter (79-foot) towboats, American Power and American Strong, with twin 99-kWe generators driven by PowerTech™ 4045AFM85 marine engines.

"We're constantly looking for ways to lower our emissions and improve fuel economy," said Foster. "Fuel is our single largest operating cost. We burn about 100 million gallons (379 million liters) of fuel a year, so fuel economy is critical. That’s why John Deere engines are such a good fit. The engines are fuel-efficient and cost-effective compared to other engines on the market."

Mike Poindexter, an ACBL employee for 40 years and director of barge maintenance, says he's proud of what ACBL is doing to safeguard the nation’s waterways and the men and women who work on them. "I truly feel like ACBL is a leader in safety innovation and stewardship. This is a company that is always looking to continuously improve equipment reliability, worker safety and environmental safety, while striving to go above and beyond to meet our customers' needs."

We're constantly looking for ways to lower our emissions and improve fuel economy. That's why John Deere engines are such a good fit.

Bill Foster
Senior Director of Vessel Engineering