CHESTERFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2008 – AEP River Operations has acquired several assets of the Erlbacher family’s Cape Girardeau-based river businesses – Missouri Barge Line Company and Cape Girardeau Fleeting, Inc.
Assets acquired include:
- Jumbo and super-jumbo hopper barges;
- Nine towboats ranging between 800 and 3,600 horsepower;
- Cape Girardeau Fleeting and its two harbor boats;
- Ongoing towboat and barge charters; and
- Fleeting and service agreements covering roughly one million tons of annual cargo.
Mark Knoy, president of AEP River Operations, said, “We’re excited about this opportunity to increase our boat and barge fleet size and increase our presence in Cape Girardeau with the addition of over 90 well-qualified vessel employees and management staff. The office staff will relocate to AEP River Operations’ Cape Girardeau office from the existing Erlbacher facility”.
Rob Erlbacher, president of the Erlbacher organization, said, “This is the right opportunity for our company, our employees and our family. Our employees will have the chance to join a strong business at AEP River Operations, working with their Cape Girardeau team of more than 425 mariners and shore-side people. The Erlbacher family has operated towboats for eight decades. I’ve been in the business for 38 years. This is the right time for this transition and AEP River Operations is the right fit for our people.”
The Erlbacher drydock facilities will remain at their current locations along the Mississippi River. The companies did not release plans for using Erlbacher’s management office in downtown Cape Girardeau. Missouri Drydock and Repair Company was not included in the transaction. Rob Erlbacher will continue to manage that operation.
AEP River Operations, based in Chesterfield, Mo., operates 60 towboat and 20 harbor vessels and more than 2,850 barges. It is an affiliate of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP). AEP is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more than 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.