Today, the American Waterways Operators celebrates its 70th anniversary as a trade association, founded on May 20, 1944, to advocate for towboat and barge operators in response to changing national transportation needs and the new regulatory climate emerging during World War II. The association has grown into a national organization representing tugboat, towboat and barge operators on the inland waterways, along the coasts, on the Great Lakes, and in ports and harbors around the country. AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti noted the association’s seven decades of contributions to its members and to the country, emphasizing AWO’s focus on safety, stewardship and service.
“Much has changed in the last 70 years, but one constant has always been AWO’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the safe, reliable and efficient flow of the nation’s critical commerce,” Mr. Allegretti stated. “AWO and its members are deeply committed to their role as safety leaders and environmental stewards, and the standards that we establish for ourselves are very high. We take tremendous pride in the service U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge operators provide all day, every day, to meet the country’s transportation needs.”
Mr. Allegretti acknowledged the billions of dollars U.S. vessel operators are investing in building new vessels and improving their equipment, technologies and practices to meet growing transportation demands and continually improve safety and environmental performance. “It is an exciting time to be in this industry,” he stated. “We are immensely proud of AWO’s accomplishments spanning the last 70 years, and we will work even harder to ensure that over the next 70 years, we continue to improve our service to AWO members and support the work that they do for our nation. I know that AWO members, and the hard-working men and women of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, are up to the task.”