A barge on the river in Vicksburg, Missippi.
A barge on the river in Vicksburg, Missippi. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

An oil train derailed today, this one in Western Pennsylvania. Somewhere between 3,000-4,000 gallons of oil spilled.

It raised more questions about how we can safely get all the new oil we’re producing to where it needs to be. Trains and pipelines aren’t the only way to do it – river barges work too. In fact, some in the crude oil industry have already started using them.

"This has kind of been a well-kept secret," says Austin Golding, a third generation barge line operator in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  He says about three years ago, “we started seeing more demand for crude oil to be moved by barge."

His family saw a 40 percent increase in demand for their services as a result of a fracking boom in places like North Dakota.

Train derailments like the one today don’t usually result in an immediate boost in business. And Golding knows there are risks associated with shipping the amount of oil that they do. 

"Our industry has a stellar safety record as far as spills and incidences that involve this type of product."

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal