Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Promising Partnership

It only takes one look to understand how big of a job this is.

“Basically we have a million pounds a piece or 1000 ton between the two of them. And we anticipated launching them this way to begin with.” 

Two giant barges, born in Northern Michigan, destined for life on the Great Lakes.

“We have a very heavy workload and barges are our real estate in our construction act ivies and we need the barges to haul construction materials to our projects, and when we decided we needed two additional vessels we looked around the area. We contacted Moran because they’re local, we’re located in Northern Michigan and we were delighted that they were able to build these barges for us.”

The job is for a company called Kokosing.

“Kokosing is a large multifaceted company based in Ohio. We’re their marine division located in Cheboygan, Michigan.”

They sought out and partnered up with Moran Iron Works more than a year ago.

“After we secured the contract, then between the design, working with the American Bureau of Shipping along with the Marine Architects coming up with a final design and of course trying to modulize it. All of these were built in our shop in Onaway and transported here.”

Building these barges was one thing, getting them to where they need to be was a job all it’s own.

And the strategy can be traced back centuries.

“It’s simple because it’s really copying how the Egyptians moved their rocks to build the pyramids, you know. They used logs, these barges, our logs are airbags and the barges the airbags were put under the barges, inflated and then rolled in just like you would roll a stone on a bunch of logs.”

Sounds simple enough, but control was also an issue.

The companies brought in some heavy machinery.

“It also allows you an opportunity to steer when you go down the ramp, so they had two D-10 dozers that were holding back and another dozer pushing to get us up to the ramp. Once you get to the ramp, gravity takes over and from there on it’s just hold back.”

And after they make it into the water, these barges will have their work cut out for them.

“Once they’re launched, they’ll be latched together. They will be taken to Cheboygan, fitted out and then they’ll spend most of their life in Lake Erie.”

“We build breakwaters and other marine structures. We mainly haul stone products to construct our break waters and other sheet piling and other material we use in our construction activities.”

It was a big day, after a big year, and there’s plenty of enthusiasm about what this project meant and what comes next.

“It’s supported more than 100 families in northeast Michigan and I mean families, not people, 100 families in northeast Michigan for over nine months. It’s been a good project for Moran Iron Works. Really strengthens our roots in the marine industry.”

“We’re all just glad for the opportunity to do this. This is a big deal for us we’re very proud. Bring on the next one.”