Kotug Smit and Mitsui O.S.K Lines seal a smart deal

Handling container ships will form part of the Mitsui OSK - Kotug Smit deal (Peter Barker) Handling container ships will form part of the Mitsui OSK - Kotug Smit deal (Peter Barker)

Consolidation in the towage industry features regularly of late and the recent merger of some of the operations of Smit and Kotug has been followed with an agreement with a major shipping line.

The Kotug Smit Towage merger covering its north-west Europe port towing operations produced synergies and efficiencies with the deployment of vessels. It also provided opportunities to cooperate with customers on a larger scale through each company’s presence in different north-western Europe ports with Kotug Smit operating a combined fleet of 64 tugs with bollard pulls ranging from 36 to 100 tons.

Following a period of constructive dialogue and negotiations the container, tanker, dry-bulk and car carrier divisions of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (MOL) have signed agreements with Kotug Smit for long term towage contracts in: Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Terneuzen, Flushing, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, London and Southampton. The agreement was effective early 2017.

Describing the nature of the agreement Kotug Smit state: ‘With this strategic partnership, both organisations aim to boost their operational performance by benefiting from smart collaboration and sharing operational knowledge and valuable information.’

Kotug Smit’s CEO René Raaijmakers commented: "This partnership with MOL underlines our principle, believing that harbour towage is about professional cooperation between all people involved. We also express our commitment to follow our customers’ business. To move forward and deliver on our promise of meeting and even exceeding our customers’ expectations, we challenge ourselves every day, encouraging further expansion and cooperation in European ports".

Masao Fukushima, MOL chief executive representative, Europe and Africa Masao Fukushima said: "This partnership embodies many years of mutual trust and shared values in terms of loyalty, commitment and goodwill. The strong relationship between both our organizations at all levels, from global headquarters, across different divisions to the operational levels in local ports, resulted in a good dialogue about optimisation of operational performance and efficiency".

By Peter Barker

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