In 1924, what would someday evolve to become MPLX Marine began with one single boat, the Colonel, which pushed one barge with five tanks on its hull.
Today, with its headquarters located near the Catlettsburg refinery, MPLX Marine is the sixth largest inland barge operator in the U.S. and represents 6 percent of the U.S. liquid barge industry. Marine equipment includes 20 inland boats and 240 liquid tank barges. In 2017, Marine equipment provided 58 percent of MPC’s waterborne movements by volume, with the remaining 42 percent handled by third-party charters.
Headed by Marine Transportation Manager Todd Sandifer, Marine’s seven-person management team has more than 200 years of industry and marine operations experience combined. “Marine transportation is one of the safest, most environmentally friendly methods of transporting a variety of products,” notes Sandifer. “In 2017, Marine transported 3.6 billion gallons, with less than one gallon released.”
Since 2005, Marine has increased its boat fleet size by 133 percent and its barge fleet by 140 percent. Today’s Marine counts more than 500 employees. Approximately 280 employees are boat crew, with a unique schedule of 12-hour days in six-hour increments, and a 28-day on/28-day off schedule. Marine operates a top-notch Marine Repair Facility and offers services that include logistics, brokerage, vetting, loss control, and tankerman (loading and unloading).
Marine also utilizes a “community barge” for events such as a United Way golf outing dinner cruise and hosting recruiting events, such as one for engineering students from the University of Cincinnati. “People really enjoy having dinner along the river, and being able to tour a boat while it’s in operation,” adds Sandifer. “The community barge has become a great ambassador for our Marine and our industry.”
Other points of pride include the fact that Marine’s mechanical availability is nearly 98 percent, a testament to the work of the 100 employees who staff the Marine Repair Facility.