Bouchard Transportation Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Mike Schuler
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September 29, 2020

FILE PHOTO: Kim M. Bouchard. Credit: MarineTraffic.com/Duncan Williams

Melville, New York-based shipping company Bouchard Transportation has announced that it and certain of its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions to restructure under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The privately-held company intends to fund the chapter 11 process with debtor-in-possession financing, which will provide it enough funds to maintain normal business operations as it undertakes “key operational restructuring initiatives, including to ensure the fleet is in full compliance with all operating regulations,” Bouchard said in a statement.

News of the bankruptcy comes after a tough year for Bouchard. Earlier in the year, Bouchard crews across the country had become stranded without pay and forced to remain on board their vessels at the directive of U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port orders related to the safety of the vessels.

By March, the company said it had processed all back pay to employees, customers and vendors after securing financing. However, according to sources, many of those problems have continued to linger.

“Throughout this process, Bouchard aims to continue to serve its customers and trade partners and ensure the safety of its employees and fleet operations. The Company will file customary first day motions that, once approved by the Bankruptcy Court, will allow the Company to smoothly transition its business into chapter 11,” the company said in a statement.

Bouchard has appointed Mark Berger of Portage Point Partners, LLC to serve as chief restructuring officer during the chapter 11 process.

Bouchard Transportation claims to be the nation’s largest independently-owned ocean-going petroleum barge company, operating 26 tugs and 25 tank barges across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The majority are double-hulled articulated tug and barge units (ATBs).

The company was established in 1918 and remains family-owned and run by President and CEO Morton S. Bouchard III, who has been at the helm since 1992.

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