Over the weekend, we were saddened to learn that Jeffboat is going out of business. This closure has been expected for a while, but it’s never easy to hear that up to 220 people will be losing their jobs.
Jeffboat General Manager Mike Poindexter told his employees there is a surplus of barges throughout the U.S. Companies have overbuilt in the last several years, and it's cheaper to buy boats already built than order new ones.
But what a history this company had! During World War II, it contributed mightily to the war effort building more than 100 various war crafts. After the war, the shipyard did build customized crafts but specialized in barges and towboats.
While others will focus on its demise, I think it’s important to remember all Jeffboat has done for this community for over 90 years. It employed tens of thousands of highly skilled naval architects, engineers and craftsmen. Jeffboat made it possible for those people to feed and house their families, to sleep well at night knowing they had good health insurance and to put many of their kids through college.
Jeffboat also provided well-paying jobs for countless kids coming right out of high school.
The closing of Jeffboat is a blow to this community, and dealing with that will be difficult, but let’s not forget how good it has been for so many people through the years.
I’m Bill Lamb … and that’s my Point of View.