McGinnis Inc. ready to launch new towboat
SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- For the first time in some 20 years, McGinnis Inc., is ready to launch a new towboat, the J.A. Ward, which will ply the waters of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.
The 75-by-27 foot towboat will be based in Cincinnati. It will be christened at the Ashland riverfront at 1 p.m. Jan. 26, said Tom Schollenberger, project coordinator for South Point-based McGinnis.
Construction on the $3.5 million towboat started in the spring of 2006 in South Point. James A. Ward III, a McGinnis employee for more than 29 years, oversaw the construction along with James Riffe, William Branham and others. The South Point company has about 280 employees and a crew of 16 is being hired to work on the boat. Eight people will work on the boat at any one time, Schollenberger said.
"I consider it a great honor to have it named after me," Ward, a South Point resident, said Friday afternoon. Ward has been a welder and fabricator for nearly three decades with the firm that started out in Portsmouth, Ohio, before moving to South Point nearly 35 years ago.
"We're planning to build two more," said Ward, supervisor of new boat construction at McGinnis.
McGinnis was founded in 1913, said Bruce McGinnis, the company's chief executive officer. The company has shipyards in South Point, New Orleans, St. Louis, Paducah, Ky., and Cincinnati, he said.
"It's the 32nd boat we've built," he said. It is the first towboat the company has produced since 1986, he said. "We used to build them in Portsmouth. Business has been good the past few years."
The line haul style of boat will move materials such as coal, grain, petroleum products, salt, iron ore, fertilizer and bulk cargo, McGinnis said. The towboat is powered by two 1,100 horsepower engines.
It is the type of towboat that spends most of the time on the river instead of being a boat based in one area that makes short hauls, Schollenberger said. Other boats can bring food and supplies out to the towboat as it moves along the river, he said.
The crews generally work 28 days on and 14 days off, he said.