Bouchard Transportation Company, Incorprated was founded by Captain Fred Bouchard in 1918. Who made his first trip at eleven years old as a cabin boy on a sailing ship bound for China.
By 1915, Bouchard had become a tugboat captain in the Port of New York, New York. After the "Black Tom Explosion" on July 30th, 1916 in which twenty two million dollars worth of 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 the Gallagher Sand Company of New York, New York) in Erie Basin. Which is Brooklyn, New York. Bouchard witnessed the explosions. Getting underway, Bouchard made his way to the site of the explosions. And 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.
In the aftermath, the United States District Court awarded Bouchard a salvage award as well as an additional award which totaled $9,000. He invested the salvage award to create his own company, Bouchard Transportation Company.
Bouchard Transportation 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. Bouchard acquired the vessel for $100. After raising this vessel, it was towed from Jacksonville, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia. Where it was it was repaired and retrofitted with a hot oil system. The barge was named the John Frederick. In 1951, 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. 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. Building continued from 1979 to 1980, with three 19,000 ton hot oil system barges that 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, Bouchard's fleet consisted of 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.
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, the company now faced new regulations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA '90). Bouchard built several new 138,000 barrel double hull barges, with new 6,140 horsepower tugboats to move these 400(ft) barges.
At the time, the new equipment was considered the largest double hull barge ever built, the B. NO. 245. She was larger than 250,000 barrels. The company expanded the area of operation to include all four coast of the United States, East Coast, Gulf Coast, West and Great Lakes.