The Illinois waterways provide a cheap and efficient route for manufacturers to transport raw materials and products. Each year this industry contributes $6.4 billion to the state’s economy, according to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. The barges transporting the hundred of millions of tons of freight yearly depend on tugboats to get to the destination. The tugs push and pull the barges, sometimes one at a time, sometimes in packs of up to 15, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.
Captain Teddy Long is with Calumet River Fleeting Inc. and has navigated these waterways for 35 years.