Friday, February 10, 2012

Doing the math

Hmm. Central Appalachian thermal coal (the kind used in power plants) is selling for about $70 a ton.  So if 15 barges loaded to 9 feet goes by, that's 1,500 tons per barge times 15 barges times $70, which equals $1,575,000 worth of coal.

The last time I priced a coal barge was decades ago, but I think the going price was about $250,000 each. So, 15 times $250,000 equals $3,750,000.

And a new 6,000-horsepower towboat will run you about $13 million.

Add it all up and it comes to, what, $18,325,000 floating past you as you aim your $100 point-and-shoot camera at it.

Don't ask me to divide that $18 million-plus by my annual salary. The only way I could feel good about that would be to express the answer with a logarithm.