On the Waterfront

New-Kathy-Bergren-Smith-Blog Louisiana towing company is bullish

November 27, 2012

The economic recovery may be shaky, but New Orleans-based TradeWinds Towing is bullish. The tug company, which provides coastwise and ocean towing, recently added a third boat to its fleet.

Rachel Smith, the company’s managing director, told me that she and her brother Dominique “felt that by purchasing the tug now, TradeWinds Towing would be ready when the towing markets improve next year, as we believe they will.”

The Leslie outruns Sandy.

They learned that the 3,000-hp Leslie Foss was up for sale through broker Marcon International. “We liked it because it meshed well with our existing fleet,” Rachel said. “It fit our profile of a tug that is both maneuverable and able to make long distance tows.” They then pulled the trigger on expansion.

Within a week of taking delivery of the tug, she was called to Norfolk, Va., to tow the ex-Navy ship Sylvania, a 561'x79' dead ship, to the scrappers in Brownsville, Texas. The Leslie Foss has “sea legs,” Rachel said, with a 96,000-gal. fuel capacity and a good track record of ocean voyages. However, there were some anxious moments on the maiden voyage as the tow had to outrun Sandy off the coast of Florida.

The 112'x31'x13'6" Leslie Foss was built in 1970 in Morgan City, La., at the McDermott yard. With Foss, she did duty on the Pacific coast and in the Gulf and Caribbean.

Photos courtesy of TradeWinds Towing

TradeWinds Towing’s tug purchase may well become opportunistic. As the Washington Post reports, manufacturing may well be returning to the U.S. as natural gas, a key ingredient in many processes, keeps getting cheaper.

Methanex, the world’s largest producer of methanol, is dismantling a whole plant in Chile and moving it to Louisiana next year. Fire up the Leslie Rachel!

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