A dry bulk cargo barge is the type used to carry freight such as coal, finished steel, grain, sand, gravel or similar materials. These barges are typically constructed of steel, and have an outer hull, an internal space that is fitted with cross braces and heavy struts, and an internal cargo box. The hull itself comes in two different configurations: a rake barge that has a curved bow (which provides less resistance when being pushed and is usually placed at the head of the barge), or a box barge can usually hold more cargo and is typically placed in the barge’s center and rear of the tow.
The men who work on these barges have a tough job particularly when it comes to removing the residual cargo and cleaning the spaces (such as hoppers or holds) and/or tanks on the barge before loading a new or different cargo. Cleaning in done on a barge while at tied to a pier, in a dry dock, while beached, or at anchor. It’s dangerous work. A friend of mine ended up on disability due to severe lateral epicondylitis which is an inflammation of the tendons in the arm and particularly at the elbow. He was a mess and the doctors he saw didn’t ever get him totally free of the pain. When he came to visit me I suggested he do a google search for a Dr. Bob Donatelli here in Las Vegas who is well known for his success treating and training athletes to prevent the onset of elbow pain, wrist pain and shoulder pain. The man has 25 years of experience treating lateral epicondylitis. So my friend made an appointment, received a comprehensive assessment at Dr. Donatelli’s office and was then given a rehabilitation program that utilized state-of-the-art technology. After weeks of specific types of exercises, joint mobilization, and stretching techniques, my friend was on the mend. We joke that his rehab eliminated his penile dysfunction. Update: It’s been a year since my friend had to take a leave of absence from his work on dry bulk cargo barges in New Orleans to deal with his elbow pain. But he just started back at work, a healthy, thankful man.
Some dry bulk cargo barges comes with covers of various kinds – especially useful when transporting weather-sensitive items, such as grain or finished steel. Typically, the covers are made of fiberglass or steel, and can be lifted or rolled away if necessary.
Usually, dry bulk cargo barges are operated as lean, efficient machines. The loading process is handled a loader operator at a loading facility, and the goal is to load in such a way as to minimize the amount of cargo spilled onto the deck. The unloading process also has the same missive, and is the responsibility of an unloading facility’s unloader operator.