Kirby’s first-quarter earnings were buoyed by strong fundamentals in its coastal tank barge fleet that fuelled near-full utilisation in a tight market.

The Houston tug and barge owner reported net income of $70.1m, a surge from $40.7m in the first three months of 2023.

“We are off to a solid start in 2024,” chief executive David Grzebinski said in an earnings statement.