Oregon oil barge launched

Oregon oil barge launched


PORTLAND —  It may look like a simple flat boat, but for two Oregon companies, the Morro Bay, an oceangoing double-hull barge, represents a business partnership built for the high seas. Portland-based Gunderson Marine launched the barge, built for Sause Bros., a Coos Bay-based shipping company, in September. At 380 feet, the Morro Bay can transport about 87,000 barrels of petroleum products.

Gunderson Marine, a division of the Lake Oswego-based Greenbrier Companies, is one of the few riverfront businesses in Portland that still has a commercial connection to the Willamette River. The 1,200 employees at its waterfront location build five or six barges a year. Their production capabilities nearly doubled after a $5 million expansion in May that increased crane capacity and production space.

“We created 150 new jobs,” says company spokesman Mark Eitzen, “About half of them have been filled so far.”

Sause Bros., which began with one wooden tug in 1937, now operates more than 60 tugs and barges, along with five double-hulled barges that haul oil for giants like Chevron, between its ports in Oregon, Washington, California and Hawaii. Sause employs more than 350 people in Coos Bay.

— Colleen Moran

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