Crane Operators to the Rescue

JULY 2024 – When Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was low on crane operators and reached out to Port Arthur, Texas, two team members answered the call.

Baton Rouge found themselves in need of additional crane operators at a dedicated terminal on the Mississippi River. The first call for help came to Port Arthur in late 2023, and Crew Leader Ty Fuller and Operator Dusten Coleman understood the importance of saying “yes.”

“They have both been very willing to come out here and lend a hand,” said Baton Rouge Terminal Manager Jason Beauchamp. At his location, cranes offload petroleum coke from barges. This commodity is turned into calcine and loaded by crane into barges for the next destination. “Without their help,” said Beauchamp, “our whole operation would be impacted.”

“They have gone way out of their way to keep what I call our sister facility going,” said Brad Bowden, who manages the Port Arthur Dedicated Terminal. “I appreciate it. I told them, ‘You’re keeping us going over there.’”

Weekly, Bowden asks one or both men to go to Baton Rouge. The local crane operator works during the week, “and our guys are picking up the weekends and the holidays,” Bowden said. Fuller and Coleman take turns making the trip, driving about three hours each way.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) tests and qualifies crane operators, but Bowden said even qualified operators can find it tough to maneuver a clam shell – hinged, opposing “buckets” that attach to a crane and close and open like a clam. “It’s very difficult for a NCCCO-certified operator to adjust to clamshell operations and vice versa,”.

But Fuller and Coleman have made that adjustment, and Beauchamp is grateful.

“Being able to work with Brad to get Ty and Dusten here has been an extreme help,” he said. “I only hope that I can return the favor.”

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