Expansion At Conrad Industries Triples Barge Production Capacity
Conrad Industries, Inc., located on the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City, La., has completed an expansion program enabling the company to triple its barge production capacity. A new metal building 360 by 100 by 45 feet fronting on an added 150 feet of riverfront houses new barge construction, new drydock construction, three 10-ton overhead cranes, and welding and p l a t e - b e n d i ng machines.
The Conrad yard, founded in 1948 by Parker Conrad, now president and chairman of the board, features two tilt-cradle launching platforms, two 600-ton drydocks, one 800-ton drydock, a 1,500-ton drydock, one 40-ton crawler crane, one 50-ton crawler crane, three complete sandblasting units, and three 800-cfm air compressors. Employing 85 persons, Conrad Industries also operates complete maintenance and carpenter shops. Reviewing more than three decades of the company's operations, James Court, vice president, said steel-hull barges have dominated production since 1964. Now building barges up to 200 feet in length and up to 75 feet wide, t h e p r i v a t e l y owned company spent 16 years building woodenhull shrimp trawlers.
Other than the operations building, Conrad's expansion and renovation project included the paving of the entire yard, situated along 450 feet of riverfront. The totally paved yard, according to Mr. Court, eliminates mud and contributes to the company's commitment in developing "techniques, procedures, and accurate, swift, s t r e a m l i n e d methods of building barges with remarkable cost efficiency." As an example, Mr. Court pointed out, the company is geared with both personnel and equipment to build a deck barge 120 by 30 by 7 in a two-week period. Two of the key production personnel have been with the founder since the company began; joining Mr. Conrad at the time he purchased the company was J.C. Ratcliff, now yard superintendent, and L.J. Vicknair Jr., purchasing agent.
In addition to deck barges, Conrad Industries specializes in fuel, spud, and self-propelled barges. The company uses semi-automatic submerged arc welding techniques to cut production time.