Following this year’s investment in Peru tug operator Tramarsa Flota, PSA Marine has ambitions for regional growth
PSA Marine is pursuing new towage and terminal support opportunities in the Americas after completing the integration of its recently acquired operations in Peru.
This is a springboard for future growth in Latin America, which tug owners consider to be ripe for growth in port and terminal services.
“We are constantly evaluating how we can strengthen our service offerings in the region,” says PSA Marine senior general manager for special projects Peter Lim. “We are pursuing opportunities relating to marine services arising from port developments in the Americas,” he tells Tug Technology & Business. “We will use synergies with the PSA global network to create greater value for our customers and stakeholders.”
PSA Marine cemented its position in Peru by acquiring local tug owner Tramarsa Flota in February 2020. It unveiled its new brand PSA Marine Peru on 19 August, underpinning its ambition as a leading maritime service provider in Latin America.
PSA Marine provides towage, pilotage and launch-boat services in 10 major ports in Peru. It operates 17 harbour tugs and 23 launches. It also provides buoy installation and maintenance services and supports offshore oil and gas projects in Peru with two diving support vessels, three work barges and three remotely operated vessels.
As with other operators in the region, PSA Marine has to overcome operational and crewing challenges from the global coronavirus pandemic.
“With the restrictions imposed, such as the restricted number of domestic flights and daily night curfews, we have to find new and innovative ways to achieve crew changes and secure the resources required for operations in a safe and timely manner,” says Mr Lim.
“The safety of our people is our key consideration. We place paramount emphasis on adherence to precautionary measures so that operations can be carried out smoothly and safely.”
PSA also revised shift rosters to reduce the frequency and need for crew changes. “We have also sought alternative logistical and maintenance work arrangements to ensure our vessels are operationally ready,” says Mr Lim.
It went beyond just adhering to the regulatory requirements by tightening safety protocols and preventive procedures. “Such as carrying out Covid-19 tests for all of our staff at the ports before the commencement of each shift,” Mr Lim explains.
“Staff are only allowed to proceed with their duties upon testing negative. We have also ensured adequate supplies of personal protective equipment on board our vessels.”
Training is also important in improving safety, compliance and seafarer competence. “For professional development and growth, our people attend regular training sessions, conducted mostly online this year, with a focus on operational and safety matters,” says Mr Lim.
“Our tug masters and harbour pilots also fulfil their training at international simulator centres,” when this is allowed by Covid-19-induced restrictions.
Digitalisation is increasingly important to tug owners as more remote operations are required. For this, PSA Marine uses the Helm Operations platform for monitoring operations and managing vessel maintenance in Peru.
PSA Marine also has its own proprietary digital platform, OneHandShake, designed to share information on port activities with a network of maritime stakeholders.
“We are considering rolling this out to our companies across various locations,” says Mr Lim.
PSA Marine may consider investing in alternative fuels for its harbour vessels in Peru, as it has with LNG dual-fuel harbour tugs in Singapore. However, any investment would depend on the availability of LNG, regulatory support in Peru and ways to meet costs. “We will need to address and overcome these considerations prior to moving ahead with alternative fuels in Peru,” says Mr Lim.