Forth Ports has acquired Targe Towing to expand its harbour and terminal support vessel fleet and prepare for future growth
Both companies operate fleets of tugs and mooring vessels throughout the east of Scotland, UK. They provide support to ships using the region’s ports and manoeuvre offshore drilling rigs during layup operations.
Forth Ports has acquired the entire share capital of Targe, nearly doubling its fleet and establishing a larger commercial marine services business.
Targe owns nine vessels, including five tugs, operating in eastern Scotland. It also manages three tugs at the Hound Point tanker loading terminal for Ineos on the Firth of Forth. Forth Ports operates a fleet of 10 vessels, including four tugs.
Forth Ports group chief executive Charles Hammond expects further growth for this combined fleet. “This is an important strategic move, establishing a commercial marine services business of scale,” he said. “I am confident that, as part of Forth Ports, Targe will develop and grow at an even faster pace.”
Targe managing director Tom Woolley sees this acquisition as a further continuation of the close working relationship both companies have had for many years. “It is clear there are opportunities we can pursue together to further develop the business,” said Mr Woolley.
Targe has worked closely with Forth Ports’ towage subsidiary, Forth Estuary Towage, for several years.
Targe’s day-to-day operations will remain the same and the name of the company will be retained. Mr Woolley and operations director Nick Dorman will continue to lead the business.
In addition, Forth Ports’ senior marine commercial manager Alasdair Smith will join the Targe team in a senior position bringing the combined commercial expertise of Forth Ports’ group businesses to deliver on Targe’s growth ambitions.
The integration process and close collaboration between Forth Estuary Towage and Targe as part of Forth Ports will be led by Forth Ports’ chief operating officer Stuart Wallace. Forth Ports did not disclose the financial details of this transaction.
Both companies have added new tugs since 2017. Forth Ports added Craigleith and Inchcolm to its fleet, while Targe welcomed Kittiwake and Peterel as newbuildings.
Forth Ports invested US$8M in 2018 in tug Craigleith and a pilot boat to enhance ship handling operations. Both were built by Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey.
Tug Technology & Business information shows Inchcolm was delivered by Damen Shipyards in 2020.
During H2 2019, Targe took delivery of newbuild azimuth stern drive (ASD) tug Peterel from Sanmar Shipyards. Sanmar also built tug Kittiwake in 2017 with 60 tonnes of bollard pull and tug Queensferry, built by Sanmar in 2020.
Investment in tug newbuilds was part of a long-term commitment by Ineos to the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) that transports large volumes of North Sea crude oil to the tanker terminal. FPS is one of the largest oil transportation systems in the UK and a key export centre.
Investment in new vessels and port services will be discussed in depth during Riviera’s series of Webinar Weeks and virtual conferences during 2021 - use this link to access more details and to register for these events