Big changes are coming in the tug business in Halifax by the end of July.
On August 1 Svitzer will be taking over the tug contract at NuStar Energy in Port Tupper on the Strait of Canso. The contract, long held by Atlantic Towing, was won by Svitzer in a recent competitive bid. NuStar (formerly known as Statia Terminals) has been operating since 1992 and provides petroleum and chemical storage. It accommodates some very big tankers and operates as a transhipment point for crude oil from Newfoundland to US and Canadian ports. I t also has storage facilities for gasoline, gasoline components, furnace oil, diesel oils and butane.
Svitzer Canada (Eastern Canada Towing Ltd) will station three tugs there, namely Svitzer Bedford, Point Chebucto and Point Valiant. While the tugs will be stationed at Point Tupper, they will also provide tug services for other customers in the Strait area, including Georgia Pacific Gypsum, Martin Marietta's stone quarry at Cape Porcupine (Auld's Cove), tug assistance for the Canso lock and for US Gypsum's operation at Grand Narrows on the Bras d'Or Lake.
Meanwhile back in Halifax, Svitzer will have Point Halifax, when it returns to service. (It is still undergoing rebuilding of its thrusters after last August's accident) and one other tug "not currently in its fleet and yet to be identified"
Meanwhile, Atlantic Towing will redeploy at least one of its Point Tupper tugs to Halifax, and possibly two.
While the statement has been made that Halifax is not a six tug port, it is hard to imagine it working with only four. So many ships arrive and depart all at the same time, that there may be delays if the tugs are not available right when needed, and no shipping companies will want delays.
As it stands now, Svitzer and Atlantic Towing provide tugs to each other as needed, and that will need to continue.