Bouchard Transportation Company, Incorprated was founded by Captain Fred Bouchard in 1918. Captain Bouchard made his first trip at eleven years old as a cabin boy on a sailing ship bound for China.
By 1915, he was the he had become the youngest tugboat captain in the Port of New York. After the "Black Tom Explosion" on July 30th, 1916 in which twenty-two million dollars worth if munitions that were bound for the battle fronts of World War I were ignited. While standing watch on board the tug C. Gallagher (owned by Gallagher Sand Co.) in Erie Basin, in nearby Brooklyn, NY witnessed the explosions. Getting underway Captain Bouchard headed towards New Jersey. Despite the explosions shattering windows, and destroying lights he was successful in rescuing the Brazilian Steamer the Tijoca as well as the schooner George W. Elezy , which hailed from Bath, Maine.
In the aftermath, the US District Court awarded the Captain Bouchard a salvage award as well as an additional award for "personal bravery", which totaled $9,000. Captain Bouchard quickly invested the salvage award to create his own company, Bouchard Transportation Company.
BTC was incorporated in 1918, the company's first cargo shipped was coal. In 1931, Bouchard's acquired its first oil barge. It was a 15,000 barrel vessel, that had sunk. Captain Bouchard purchased the vessel for $100. After raising this vessel, Captain Bouchard towed it from Jacksonville, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia, where it was its repaired and retrofitted with a hot oil system. The barge was named the John Frederick . In 1951, Captain Fred Bouchard's son, Buster Bouchard succeeded his father as President of Bouchard Transportation. Under Buster's direction, Bouchard constructed three 20,000 barrel oil barges, along with three accompanying tugboats. These vessels ran the New York State Barge Canal. In 1955, the third generation of Bouchards became involved with the company; the family's involvement grew, and so did the company's fleet. From 1951 to 1976, Bouchard Transportation brought many large barges into New York Harbor. From, 1974 and 1978 the majority of the vessels built by Bouchard ranged from 55,000 to 110,000 bbl barges. The company's cargo carrying capacity doubled, and building continued from 1979 to 1980, three 19,000 ton hot oil system barges where constructed along with three 5,700 horsepower tugboats. This included residual products via the Gulf Coast along with two 19,000 ton clean petroleum barges. By 1989, the fleet grew to nineteen barges and eight tugboats. The barges range in size from 18,000 to 125,000 barrels. Rounding out the fleet were eight twin screw tugboats from 4,200 to 6,000 horsepower, which were more maneuverable than the original tugs. At this point Bouchard extended its routes to include coastal routes and the entire eastern seaboard, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes ports. In 1992, the fourth generation of Bouchards assumed the company. However, they faced new regulations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA '90). Bouchard became one of the first companies to build several new 138,000 barrel Double Hull barges and new 6,140 horsepower tugboats to move these 400'+ (ft) barges. The new equipment was considered the largest double hull barge ever built, the B. NO. 245 . She is larger than 250,000 barrels. The company expanded the area of operation to include all four coast of the US, East, Gulf, West and Great Lakes. Currently, Bouchard's fleet contains some thirty-one barges ranging from 25, 000 barrel to 252, 000 barrels and seventeen tugs ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 horsepower.