Harahan, La., headquartered Belle Chasse Marine Transportation, the largest launch service on the Lower Mississippi, puts a lot of hours on its fleet of crew and supply boats, which run day and night. One thing it can’t afford is downtime.
“The river never closes, and neither do we. Our customers expect us to give them reliable round-the-clock service no matter what the conditions,” said Dillon Entrekin, port engineer at Belle Chasse. “If a boat is down for maintenance, it’s not earning.”
Belle Chasse’s preferred engine supplier is Volvo Penta
That’s one reason why Belle Chasse selected Volvo Penta as its preferred engine supplier.
When it came time to repower one of the company’s older boats, the Belle Chasse team did its homework. After about two years of research, the decision was taken to install a pair of Volvo Penta D13 400 diesels in the 47 ft crew boat.
Based on the experience with the first installation, Belle Chasse has since repowered four more boats with the D13 400s, as well as one newbuild. It is planning to continue replacing the older engines in its fleet of over 40 boats with Volvo Penta diesels over the next few years.
Belle Chasse’s crew boats typically run about 2,000 hours per year. Compared to the old engines, the Volvo Penta D13s consume seven gallons less of fuel per hour, resulting in a savings of over $35,000 per year.
“The new crew boat engine power is fantastic using the twin D13 400s,” said Entrekin. “We’re getting more horsepower at lower RPMs with less fuel consumption. The savings will pay for the engines in a couple of years. The lower maintenance requirements, great service and prompt availability of parts also help minimize downtime.”
Entrekin said another important factor is power performance. The Belle Chasse boats operate in congested waterways with strong currents, heavy traffic and floating debris. That makes quick response, maneuverability and high torque critical to safety. The captains like the Volvo Penta powered boats because they feel a sense of safety and control at the helm.
“Work boat fleets around the globe are increasingly turning to Volvo Penta, driven by the proven success of our dependable, powerful and efficient diesel technology, backed by the extraordinary network of Power Centers and dealers who support our products,” said Jens Bering, vice president of marine sales, Volvo Penta of the Americas.