Over the years, the business changed with the times – from asphalt to stone to salt.
"It's been good over all the years," said Jack Kinney.
But Jack and his son John wonder if the company will be around for 75 more.
"It's getting from slow to bad to critical," said John.
Last year, Central Dock received 91,000 tons of material. That’s less than half than the 241,000 tons received in 2009.
The hard knocks are evident: Central Dock’s first shipment of the year arrived Saturday. It was a 10,000-ton salt shipment, but it doesn't hide the fact that the dock still has a lot of open space. And that's not the only problem.
"To keep the harbor open and viable, you have to dredge it periodically," said John.
Tom O'Bryan, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, confirmed the outer harbor was dredged last year.
John said it did nothing to help boats in the inner harbor.
"Ships were stuck," said John. "You have to do both to make the harbor function."
But that won’t happen. The Federal government said the Central Dock, Dock 63 and the LaFarge Corp docks form a low-use commercial harbor.
Based on the number of inner harbor shipments, the inner harbor hasn't reached the million-ton minimum to qualify for aid.
Year Product in Ton
The last time the harbor reached a million tons was 2001. So John and Jack are basically on their own.
"We're still trying to come to grips with what's happened down here," John said. "It's not good."
County leaders and engineers from the Army Corps said they it will be difficult to reach that 1-million ton minimum to qualify for aid.
"It's really a Catch 22," said O'Bryan. "The Harbor had some low-use years."
How will it ever get to a million tons a year? O'Bryan said "it probably won't ever again."
John and Jack are considering their options. If the economy or the number of shipments don’t increase, they’re in trouble.
And their only option: Close the business, sell the land or find the money for dredging on their own.