Page 38: of Marine News Magazine (March 2016)
Push boats, Tugs & Assist Vessels
PUSHBOATS & INLAND TRANSPORT
T W T IDEWATER S NIQUE ORKBOATS ACKLE
QUALLY HALLENGING ATERS
E ’ U C W
The Columbia and Snake River system of waterways demands special equipment, dedicated mariners and local service. Fortunately, all three metrics are present – for today and tomorrow.
By Kathy A. Smith hen one thinks of the vast inland marine supply
Tidewater Transportation & Terminals chain in the United States, the Columbia and
The long-serving Vancouver, Washington-headquar-
WSnake River (CSR) system may not ? rst come tered marine enterprise owns and operates a ? eet of 16 to mind. But the once un-navigable 465-mile waterway towboats (several have been repowered with new diesel en- was substantially changed during the 20th century when gines) and 150 barges as well as four strategically-located a series of eight hydro-electric dams with eight navigation terminals that provide, among other services, liquids and locks were built by the Army Corps of Engineers, allowing solids terminaling and transloading. Three of the compa- for the movement of goods between the Paci? c Coast Port ny’s newest vessels have been purpose-built for this unique of Astoria Oregon and the inland Port of Lewiston, Idaho.
waterway based on decades of intimate knowledge with
Today, over 46 million tons of international trade occurs the changing tides of this challenging inland river system.
along the deep draft channel of the Columbia Snake River.
The eight dams along the CSR create eight reservoirs.
The inland navigation channel moves over 12 million tons The largest is 76 miles in length, which gives rise to a of this commercial cargo, such as grain, wood products plethora of weather challenges. Wind speeds of 40 miles and re? ned petroleum products. These cargoes are ferried an hour and above are pretty common. “You can get up to between the many ports, elevators, and terminals that dot 70 or 80 through the gorge,” says Captain Brian Fletcher, the system’s landscape. The largest inland barge transpor-
Port Captain. “In that 76-mile pool, it’s not unheard of to tation provider along this important gateway, serving over have 10-foot rollers out there. The wind is our adversary, 85 percent of the commodities they serve, is Tidewater and we manage it very well.”
Transportation & Terminals.
Fletcher represents several multi-generational families
Tidewater tug Challenger heading upriver with tow
Credit: Tidewater Transportation & Terminals Credit: Captain Pat Harding
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