France-based Thomas Services Maritimes (TSM) has expanded its tugboat fleet and towage capabilities in Europe’s largest grain terminal
Damen Shipyards Group has delivered two reverse stern drive (RSD) tugs to TSM, as northern French ports invest US$1.72Bn to expand maritime and river trade.
The new tugs will be employed in the Port of Rouen, where they will assist bulk cargo carriers into and out of the expanding grain export terminal. As well as bulk carriers, these RSD tugs will also assist tankers and other vessels inbound on the River Seine for Rouen and Honfleur ports.
Damen built TSM Rouen and TSM Honfleur in southeast Asia to its own RSD 2513 design before transporting them to Europe for onwards mobilisation to their Normandy destination.
TSM chief executive Loïc Thomas said the family-run company was “looking for new tugs with the latest in vessel technology” for towage and port operations. “Damen provided us with a solution that perfectly met our needs, including the environmental requirements we take into account for our investments,” said Mr Thomas.
Damen sales manager Joost van der Weiden explained how it prepared TSM Rouen and TSM Honfleur for future IMO Tier III enhancements. “Compliance can be achieved with the quick, simple, plug and play installation of the Damen Marine NOx reduction system,” he said.
“This selective catalytic reduction technology delivers reduced NOx emissions of 70% compared to IMO Tier II. In this manner, TSM’s new vessels are suited not only to their operations today, but also for the future,” said Mr van der Weiden.
Damen adapted these RSD tugs for operating in relatively shallow waters of the River Seine by lowering the vessels’ draught to ensure their suitability. Despite these modifications, TSM Rouen and TSM Honfleur have bollard pulls of more than 80 tonnes when towing, as demonstrated during their sea trials.
TSM’s investment comes as grain exports are expected to increase out of the Port of Rouen.
HAROPA Port of Rouen chief executive Pascal Gabet said grain exports set a record of 8.8M tonnes in 2020. “Over the 2019-2020 campaign, Port of Rouen exported almost 10M tonnes of cereals, a historic level of performance.”
“The Port of Rouen has benefited by the deepened navigation channel and its repositioning on the international grain market with new destinations such as China,” he said.
HAROPA Port of Rouen recorded maritime traffic of 22.3M tonnes in 2020. TSM has been expanding its fleet of tugs and workboats with newbuilding deliveries in recent years.
Ports in Normandy and along the River Seine down to Paris will receive €1.45Bn (US$1.72Bn) in investment between 2020 and 2027.
Ports of Rouen and Honfleur are operated by HAROPA, the fifth-largest port complex in northern Europe, and a joint venture between the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris.
In total, HAROPA manages around 10 partner ports in Normandy and the Paris area. It handles more than 120M tonnes of cargo by sea and waterways each year and also serves a vast hinterland around the Seine valley and the Paris region.
This joint venture will be strengthened by the merger of the Seine Axis ports on 1 June 2021, which the French Government anticipates will mark the beginning of a new, ambitious goal for these ports.
In 2020, €462M (US$550M) was invested in the Seine Axis ports’ export terminal development, wind turbine construction in Le Havre and the future Port Seine Métropole Ouest on the River Seine, which will serve the Greater Paris area and river transport.
Tug operations, propulsion technologies, safety and stability issues will be discussed during Riviera’s first ITS TUGTECHNOLOGY Webinar Week on 29-31 March - use this link for more details and to register for these webinars