Dry Bulk Cargo Barges

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.

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.


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 for his physical injury.

However, the depression that followed his injury led him to excessive drinking. He refused to be labelled an alcoholic and all the stigma and shame associated with that term. Luckily his family doctor who has known him since he was a little kid suggested a different approach to tackling his drinking. The doctor pointed him to an online website called LifeBac that offers a different approach. LifeBac is not a rehab or treatment clinic, but a collection of modern, science-based tools to empower people not just to avoid the downward spiral to alcoholism, but also to improve the person’s relationships, health, sleep focus and productivity. They offer a responsible program with prescription medication, a personal guide, drink planning and tracking tools, goal setting, performance analysis and access to behavior change courses.
The LifeBac program allows a person to quit or to continue drinking moderately without cravings. This is such a radical approach from AA or rehab centers that demand total abstinence forever. Once my friend signed up he was given a personal LifeBac Guide who helped him navigate the LifeBac program, kept him motivated, and set realistic goals. I was impressed he actually was able to get control of his drinking. It was such a relief to all of us that alcohol no longer controlled him.

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 and alcohol use. He has just started back at work, a healthy, thankful man.


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