Golding talks growth with area Kiwanis

Published 10:36 am Friday, October 9, 2015

Golding Barge Line is continuing its tradition of growth in the country’s most environmentally friendly transporation industries, the company’s vice president of marketing told Port City Kiwanis Thursday.

The company has grown tremendously over the past 11 years, Austin Golding told the club.

“We built our first towboat in 2004 and as of today, we have 20 towboats and just at 70 barges,” Golding said. “In 2009 we had 97 employees. Today we have 230.”

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Golding’s barges and towboats primarily transport petroleum products to refineries or discharge points.

“We are the smallest company in the country that does what we do on the scale that we do,” Golding said.

The company also transports unfinished products used to make gasoline and diesel.

“Usually these are all of the consistency of about butane, like is in a lighter,” Golding said.

Each boat runs on two low-emissions diesel engines and typically has a tow of two or three barges. Each barge and carries between 25,000 and 28,000 barrels of gasoline or oil with a crew of five to seven people.

“That’s about the same amount of product that it would take 1,300 18-wheelers to carry. You’re doing that with five to seven guys and two diesel engines as opposed to 1,300 guys and 1,300 diesel engines,” Golding said.

The industry is also one of the highest paying for workers without a college education. Deck hands begin by making about $30,000 a year. Credentialed tankermen make $75,000. Within five to six years, an employee can become a certified towboat pilot making up to $135,000 a year.

“We provide a very defined route of progression for these young men,” Golding said. “We have three guys from Vicksburg who have all made it through that progression from deckhand to pilot.”