BY HEATHER ERVIN
November 13, 2017
TPG Chicago Dry Dock recently announced that it has acquired a new drydock for use at its Calumet River facility at Mile 329. The additional dock—named the Robert Farrell Jr.—has increased the company’s capacity by 30 percent, bringing the total number of floating drydocks to three.
According to Michael Hogan, general manager of the firm, the drydock was purchased as a wrecked vessel. “It had so many leaks that it couldn’t be used safely,” he said. When purchased, the drydock was 100 feet long and 52 feet wide between wing walls. Hogan said the company cut the drydock in half length wise, and drydocked it in two pieces.
“We replaced the entire bottom and up each side by about 5 feet,” said Hogan. “We widened the dock by 8 feet by adding a new 8-foot-wide center tank.” The dock is now 100 feet long by 60 feet wide between wing walls.
“This gives us new capability to drydock 300- by 54-foot tank barges,” said Hogan, who added that TPG Chicago Dry Dock is the only shipyard north of Wood River, Ill., with that capability. “Our ownership at TPG in Indianapolis believes in us. We get great operational support from Mt. Vernon Barge Service, and we have a highly skilled crew that makes things happen. We are poised for growth.”
The new drydock handles tank barges on the northern Illinois Waterway and the Great Lakes. Prior to the installation of the dock, companies had to go almost down to St. Louis, Mo., for drydocking services, according to Ed Robinson, chief marketing officer.
TPG Chicago Background
The facility lies on approximately 7 acres of secured land with 1,200 feet of sheeted wall on the Calumet River. In addition to the new drydock, the company operates two others that can accommodate underwater repairs to vessels up to 262 feet long and 54 feet wide and up to 1,500 tons.
The shipyard has cranes, a full machine shop, boat and barge cleaning services, and repair and custom fabrication. Hogan said the company also employs a team of ABS-certified welders and technicians.
Established in 1979, TPG Chicago started with a pickup truck and a shovel. Haven Kern founded Kern Barge Cleaning and Repair to serve maritime customers in the Chicago, Ill., area. According to TPG, the business has continued to grow and thrive throughout the years, and belongs to the TPG Marine Enterprises group of companies.