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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- American Commercial Barge Line Co. (ACBL), a leader in barge transportation in the United States, has launched a service along the Paraguai-Parana River to transport iron ore from Corumba, Brazil to San Nicolas, Argentina. ACBL has contracted with Siderar, an Argentine steel mill, to transport a quarter-million metric tons of iron ore annually.

A submersible vessel with two towboats, 18 hopper barges and two tank barges arrived yesterday at ACBL's San Lorenzo terminal. In conjunction with local partners, ACBL has established a corporation, ACBL Hidrovias, to operate the service. The service represents a multimillion dollar initial investment by ACBL in towboats, barges and other equipment. The company has opened an office in San Lorenzo, Argentina, which is staffed locally.

"This agreement is the first step in a long-term plan to help promote the development of this river system into a major thoroughfare for the Mercosur countries. Given the long-term economic prospect of these countries, we're looking forward to many more opportunities to expand our presence and provide customers with efficient and reliable service," said Michael C. Hagan, president and chief executive officer of American Commercial Lines Inc. (ACL), ACBL's parent company.

"Until fairly recently, the main transportation mode in South America for many commodities was truck. With aggressive development of the river systems and modern techniques employed by such companies as ACBL, barging will increasingly become the choice mode for reliable, efficient and economical transportation of containerized cargo and commodities," Hagan said. "We believe there will be explosive growth in the movement of products such as soybean, fertilizer, oil products, wheat and manganese. ACBL intends to play a major role in promoting this growth," he added. ACBL's Growing Commitment to South America

The agreement with Siderar reflects ACBL's growing commitment to serving South America and improving river transport systems for customers. In October 1993, ACBL began fulfilling a 10-year contract with CVG Bauxilum for the transport of more than 3 million metric tons of bauxite per year in Venezuela. ACBL moves that cargo along the Orinoco River, from Puerto El Jobal to Matanzas, Puerto Ordaz. ACBL invested over $30 million in new equipment and technology, in addition to conducting training in the latest barging and safety techniques for its staff and operating personnel.

"We're working to become the premier barge company in South America, just as we have in the United States, by setting service standards that go well beyond our competitors'," said Oscar Curth, executive vice president, ACBL de Venezuela. "This involves using the most advanced technology in the industry as well as modern equipment, and developing a team of dedicated employees who understand their responsibility to serve customers."

ACBL's Venezuelan office, which opened in Guyana City in December 1993, is its first overseas branch. The company is the largest barge line in the United States, operating 3,500 barges and 120 towboats and transporting some 60 million tons of cargo a year. Parent company ACL also offers marine construction and communications services.

ACBL navigates on the most vital waterway of the United States, the Mississippi River system, and on the intercoastal waterway of the Gulf of Mexico, serving the northeastern industrial region, central Appalachian region, the Illinois basin, the grain-producing regions of the Midwest, the southern industrial and agricultural region and the petrochemical industry along the Gulf of Mexico. Commodities shipped include coal, grains, salt, fertilizers, minerals and liquids, steel, scrap metal, paper, petroleum and petroleum products.

Sister Company Also Provides Services to South America

ACL is a unit of CSX Corporation, an international transportation company offering a variety of rail, container-shipping, intermodal, trucking, barging and contract logistics services worldwide. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., CSX earned $9.6 billion of operating revenue in 1994.

CSX's container-shipping unit, Sea-Land Service Inc., provides service to 23 countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Sea-Land operates a fleet of 93 container ships and 188,000 containers in trade lanes around the world. The company's strategy in Latin America has been to build a network of both its own vessels and ships owned by other lines. For example, Sea-Land has entered into a partnership with Maersk for traffic to Colombia's west coast, Chile and Peru. In 1994 alone, Sea-Land's Latin American business grew by more than 30 percent.

"CSX offers shippers an array of world-class transportation and logistics services," commented John W. Snow, chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corporation. "Our ability to respond rapidly to new and growing markets provides shippers faster, more direct access to their customers -- a distinct competitive advantage in today's global village. CSX stays ahead of its competition by anticipating and meeting the needs of its customers through quality service."
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/CONTACT: Rebecca Miller of American Commercial Barge Line, 812-288-0449/


CO: American Commercial Barge Line, Co.; CSX Corporation ST: Indiana IN: MAR SU: PDT

KW -- DCF012 -- 1426 01/05/96 12:20 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 5, 1996

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