SAAM Smit Towage has built up a formidable market position in the Brazilian towage sector by adding newbuildings to its fleet, but has increasing competition
SAAM Smit Towage is completing a newbuilding campaign for its Brazilian fleet during a period of growth in the country. However, it has encountered increasing competition in Brazil and greater uncertainty in the country’s towage sector.
Since 2016, SAAM Smit Towage added four new azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs to boost its fleet to 48 vessels, which operate in 15 ports and terminals along the Brazilian coast. The company is a joint venture between Smit Rebras, part of the Boskalis group, and SAAM group’s TugBrasil.
SST Aranã will be the last vessel of the current newbuilding programme when it enters service before the end of this year. It is likely to be the last newbuilding for quite a while for the joint venture company, said SAAM Smit Towage Brasil chief executive Pieter van Stein.
He told Tug Technology & Business that SST Aranã is scheduled for delivery in early December 2018 and will operate in Santos port. “After this delivery for the moment we do not have any newbuilding going on,” he said.
This newbuilding campaign has increased the supply of tugs in 2016-2018, but so has competition from other towage companies joining the Brazilian market.
Mr van Stein said there were market challenges ahead in the country, which has an impact on future initiatives. “With two new towage companies and Brazilian towage market turbulence, this does not sustain any heavy investments in new tugs for the moment,” he said.
The latest additions to the fleet were built by Wilson Sons Estaleiros, in Guarujá, Brazil, to a Damen ASD 2411 design. These 24-m tugs come with an 11 m beam and have bollard pulls of around 70 tonnes. SAAM Smit took delivery of the first of these tugs, SST Aimore, in July 2017 and SST Arua in October 2017. Both tugs were deployed at oil terminals in Angra Dos Reis.
In August this year, SAAM Smit took delivery of a third newbuilding, SST Arara, which was mobilised in Santos port. All four newbuildings have a pair of Caterpillar 3516C engines with a combined power of 4,180 kW and two Schottel SRP1515 azimuthing rudderpropellers. Damen said these tugs were designed with high manoeuvrability and seakeeping behaviour in mind.
SAAM Smit Towage provides harbour towage in 12 main Brazilian ports. From north to south these are:
These tugs serve international shipping clients active in dry bulk (iron ore and agricultural products), liquid bulk (oil, chemicals and juice), container liners and car carriers.
SAAM Smit Towage also provides dedicated towage services to the Petrobras oil terminals in Angra dos Reis and Suape and the Petrobras LNG terminal in Salvador. TugBrasil has provided towage in Brazil since 2005 and Smit Rebras since 2006.
SAAM Smit Brazil fleet by delivery date
2017-2018 – 4
2015-2016 – 3
2013-2014 – 10
2010-2012 – 4
2007-2009 – 17
2003-2005 – 2
2000-2002 – 4
1990s –- 4
Wilson Sons shipyard is also currently building two Damen-designed ASD 3212 tugs for its own towage company, Wilson Sons Rebocadores.
Brazilian towage and offshore vessel owner Starnav Servicos has ordered eight tugs from an affiliate shipyard to expand its national fleet. Starnav has ordered eight tugs from the Detroit Brasil shipyard to operate under the Brazil flag, according to BRL Shipping Consultants.
It already operates a fleet of eight tugs for oceangoing and harbour towage, so this latest order could double Starnav's capabilities. These will be built over the next 18 months with deliveries set to commence in March 2019.
A tug is expected to enter service every three months in succession with the final delivery scheduled for December 2020.
The Detroit Brasil shipyard has a history of building tugboats for domestic operators. This year it has built four new tugs for Hamburg Süd subsidiary Aliança Navegação at its shipyard in Itajai, Brazil. These have MTU-Series 4000 main engines supplied by Rolls-Royce.
Aliança Navegação operates a fleet of seven harbour tugs, two of which are deployed in São Francisco in the north of Santa Catarina and has five tugboats still to be commissioned.
Rolls-Royce has been supplying MTU-Series 4000 engines to Detroit Brasil since 2010 for harbour tugs and platform supply vessels, including in the Starnav tugboat fleet.
In Paraguay, the Tsuneishi Shipyard delivered towboat Tebicuary 3 to its owner Navegacion del Sur (Navesur) in June. This towboat was designed with a shallow draught of just 1.8 m to access the Paraguay-Parana Waterway.
It has combined power of 4,770 kW derived from engine and generator packages supplied by Cummins.
Tebicuary 3 has four Cummins KTA40 engines, each developing 1,190 kW at 1,800 rpm. It also has two Cummins NTA855 gensets, each rated at 240 kVA at 50 Hz, and a 6B CS emergency generator. These have Class NK certification and C Command electronic controls.
Tebicuary 3 has an overall length of 43 m and beam of 18 m. Navesur has started using this tug to push barges along the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay rivers.
Canadian tug owner Ocean has deployed a fleet of tugs into Jamaica as part of its strategy to expand outside North America.
This redeployment was made possible after Ocean signed a 10-year contract with the Port Authority of Jamaica to provide harbour towage services at Kingston Harbour.
Ocean mobilised three harbour towage tugs to Newport West in Kingston and created around 40 jobs in the country.
It acquired an ASD tug from the Turkish builder, Sanmar, to help cover this concession. Bogacay IX, a RAmparts 2400 SX design tug, was renamed Ocean Kingston Pride. It has a bollard pull of 80 tonnes and top speed of 13 knots. This comes from a pair of 2,350 kW Caterpillar diesel engines driving two Rolls-Royce US 255 CP azimuthing Z-drives.
Ocean is pursuing new business in the Caribbean where it has been supporting dredging operations in the Dominican Republic, Barbados and St Kitts.
SST expands Canadian fleet through acquisition
Two tugs built in Hong Kong will be mobilised to western Canada to enhance ship escort services in British Columbia.
SAAM Smit Towage Canada, a joint venture partnership between Boskalis and Chile-headquartered SAAM, has purchased two escort tugs from Cheoy Lee Shipyards.
These have been named SST Grizzly and SST Orca and were completed at Cheoy Lee’s Hin Lee shipyard in the first week of October. They are sailing to Vancouver, Canada, to join the local fleet.
These were built to a Robert Allan RAstar 3200 design and Lloyd’s Register escort tug class. They have bollard pulls of more than 80 tonnes and top speeds in excess of 13.5 knots.