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In 1859, a group of businessmen located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania formed The Pittsburgh Coal Exchange to promote the safety, health and transportation of the area's abundant coal supply. This organization grew and evolved; in 1967, the Waterways Association of Pittsburgh was chartered. Throughout the years, the focus changed from coal to steel to steel by-product. The patriarchs of the marine industries along the Monongahela, Allegheny and Upper Ohio River areas met monthly.

The Waterways Association of Pittsburgh takes great pride in being the oldest river organization in the United States and a leader in our industry. We were partners with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard before the term "partnering" was coined; we take great pride in our quality action team formed long before such programs existed.

The Waterways Association partners closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop our waterways in the tri-state area. It also cooperates with the U.S. Coast Guard to maintain the laws and navigation in the Three Rivers area. The organization endeavors to maintain standards of safety as well as health and navigation issues.

A joint panel of Association members meets with the Corps of Engineers to evaluate fleeting procedures and facility guides, and issues a directory of names and emergency telephone numbers. Our navigation committee checks all proposed permits submitted to the Corps of Engineers and comments on those which it perceives as navigation or personal safety hazards. The Safe Boating Committee informs our membership of developments in that aspect of the rivers. Other member companies serve on the Three Rivers Pollution Response Council.

Another result of this cooperation is our Calling Tree, activated by any problem or potential problems such as high water or ice, which poses a danger to navigation. Information originates with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Designated members then notify their assigned group of members in order to provide ample warning time for preventative action.

Our Health, Safety and Training Committee schedule seminars dealing with issues vital for safe operation on our waterways. Our annual Barge Breakaway Seminar stresses responsible, proper fleet maintenance, thus preventing barges from breaking away and damaging other fleets, docks and bridges. This seminar, along with various other safety and training courses, is available to members and non-members alike, in the interest of maintaining safety on our local rivers.

Waterways Association member companies transport more than 53 million tons of product annually through the Port of Pittsburgh. Our membership includes coal, steel, chemical and utility companies which work together to make the Port of Pittsburgh the second largest port in bulk materials transportation on the Inland River Systems.

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