the profits into new more modern equipment, and maintain our existing equipment to the highest standards possible. Sometimes I sit back and wonder what all three of them would think, as the company has grown beyond their imaginations, and will hopefully continue to grow as the 5th generation becomes more involved. ML: When did you first begin working at the company? MB: I began working at Bouchard when I was 19 and a sophomore in college. I worked in the shipyards and our outside office. The following summer I worked on the vessels, and the summer after that I was a night dispatcher, filling in for the night staff vacations. When I graduated college, I was a dispatcher, but was also attached to my father’s hip. I was with him for every meeting, and important phone call. I became President at the age of 32. ML: How did Bouchard address the challenge of OPA 90? MB: OPA 90 changed our industry in every aspect. When OPA 90 was passed, my father and I had a meeting, and he had the entire bill with him. He asked me if I had read it, and I told him no—not the entire bill, but the most important segments. He was very upset, and felt that Bouchard should sell. After a lengthy discussion, which was mostly listening on my part, I finally got my father to realize that 1990 was the year that we would need to decide what our next business plan would be for the company. From
this conversation, I finally convinced my father that we should build double hulls, and be the first company to invest in double hulls, which we did. Bouchard was the first to build double hulls (1992 & 1993), and continues to be the leader in double hulls. All of Bouchard barges are flat deck double hulls; we do not believe in trunk deck barges, and feel that the trunks should not be allowed to carry petroleum because they are not double hull. OPA 90 also increased the awareness of safety for trained crew members, as well as shore-side personnel. I continuously tell all of our employees that we cannot be profitable unless we are safe, and we must give every employee the resources needed to be safe.
ML: One of your latest deliveries was the 10,000 hp/250,000 bbl Articulated Tug Barge Donna J. Bouchard and the B. No. 272. Those vessels are some of the last under a major investment in renewing and expanding your fleet. Tell us about your fleet expansion? MB: Bouchard and VT Halter have enjoyed a relationship for over 40 years. The management of Halter has changed over those years, however, Bouchard and Halter continue our relationship. The latest expansion program involved two units, M/V Kim M. Bouchard & B. No. 270, and the M/V Donna J. Bouchard & B. No. 272. We studied various capacities. We were originally targeting 350,000 bbl and 15,000 hp tugs; however, after
The Articulated Tug Barge unit Donna J. Bouchard/B. No. 272 is one of Bouchard Transportation’s newest additions
December 2016 // Marine Log 39