Texas-based tank barge operator Kirby has entered into agreements to build 29 inland tank barges for about $81m.

The 29 vessels are in addition to contracts secured earlier this year for the construction of 37 inland tank barges, a 185,000 barrel coastal articulated tank barge and tugboat unit.

The total capacity of all the 29 vessels is 830,000 barrels, where each barge will hold 30,000 barrels.

All of the vessels are scheduled for delivery throughout the year.

"The inland tank barges will help the company meet the volume requirements driven by expanding movements of crude oil and natural gas condensate."

Of the 29 vessels, 11 are new orders and 18 are through the assumption of shipyard construction contracts from other tank barge operators.

Kirby chairman and CEO Joe Pyne said the inland tank barges will help the company meet the volume requirements driven by expanding movements of crude oil and natural gas condensate, as well as new demand from expansions in the petrochemical and refining industries.

With a total capacity of 390,000 barrels, the earlier contracts of 37 inland tank barges are being built at a cost of about $45m.

The coastal articulated tank barge and tugboat units will cost about $45m and are scheduled for delivery in mid to late 2015.

Based in Houston, Texas, Kirby transports bulk liquid products petrochemicals, black oil, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals by tank barge.