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JEFFERSONVILLE, IND. (WDRB) -- Jeffboat is expanding and adding workers. On Wednesday morning, it did something it's been doing a lot more of recently -- launched a barge into the Ohio River.
The barge and shipbuilding company is investing $3.5 million to bring back a fourth production line. That will mean an additional 100 workers by this fall.
Jeffboat is one of 12 inland shipbuilders to receive an $845,000 grant from the federal government to help it with the expansion. It is one of 12 shipyards in 10 states to receive money from the federal government to make improvements in its facilities. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release, "Improvements at our shipyards mean more ships can be built right here in the United States, which means more jobs for hard-working Americans."
Patrick Sutton, Jeffboat Vice President, says business is strong: "We are sold out all the way into 2015. So it couldn't be better for us, we think it's going to continue that way."
Part of the increased demand for Jeffboat barges is being driven by the increase in the production of North American crude oil.
Says Sutton, "The crude that is running on the river and the efficiency we provide that industry is driving Jeffboat and the demand from our customers for the quality tank barges that we are building."
Now that the federal grant is in hand, Jeffboat will begin construction on the new line with in the next couple of weeks.
"We will be done and putting steel on that line for the first vessel by October," says Sutton.