The Wilson Sons Group, one of Brazil’s leading logistics and port operators, has reported positive results in its port support and offshore maritime support sectors.
The company operates in these markets through two companies: Wilson Sons Tugboats and Wilson Sons Ultratug Offshore. The past few years have seen their fleets grow, along with the volume of their operations. The number of port manoeuvres increased by 8.7 per cent between 2013 and 2014, totalling 58,545 operations. Offshore support vessels registered a 14.7 per cent rise in operations, reaching 7,413 days.
Arnaldo Calbucci, Wilson Sons Group’s vice-president for tugboat, offshore, agency and shipyard, said: “At 76 vessels, we are in possession of the largest tugboat fleet in the country, as well as one of the largest offshore support fleets made up of Brazilian ships. Our experience in these sectors, in conjunction with the quality of our operations, represent important differentiating factors in a much disputed market.”
Last year, Wilson Sons Tugboats saw its fleet grow with five new 70-tonne bollard pull azimuthal tugboats. According to Sérgio Guedes, the company’s director of operations, these actions demonstrate its commitment towards operational quality, safety and efficiency.
“Reaching new ports and terminals and signing important partnerships are proof of the fact that our work is acknowledged and respected. Furthermore, the new vessels increase our operational capacity and strengthen our fleet,” he said.
The company’s new operations are concentrated for the most part in the northern state of Pará. In August, it started working at the Port of Belém’s Miramar and Sotave terminals, in addition to the ports of Vila do Conde, in Barcarena, and Trombetas, in Oriximiná.
Guedes explained: “These operations are referential for Wilson Sons Tugboats. We are carrying out river operations for the first time, which represents an opportunity for acting in a region displaying a significant growth in the movement of vessels and cargo.”
Last year the company also started to operate in the Port of Açu – a developing port complex in the state of Rio de Janeiro – where it is serving the Terminal de Minério (T1), or mining terminal.
Jonathan Dumphreys, commercial director at Wilson Sons Tugboats, said: “Towards the middle of 2015, we will have a fixed fleet in the area for attending to those operations.”Wilson Sons Tugboats is constantly investing in new vessels in order to be able to cater for the new operations without compromising attendance to the other port and terminals in which it is present. In 2014, the fleet grew with the arrival of five tugboats.
The new vessels are part of a series of 12, whose delivery will be completed before the second quarter of 2016. With a new identity that includes a prefix identifying them as part of the Wilson Sons Group, tugboats WS Phoenix, WS Antares, WS Bellatrix, WS Pegasus and WS Perseus were delivered. All the vessels were built at the Wilson Sons Shipyards units in Guarujá.
Another recent development was the establishment of the Tugboat Operations Centre (COR), which tracks company vessels working in the ports of Rio Grande, Salvador and Fortaleza, helping to ensure increased operational efficiency. During 2015, the Pará and Porto do Açu operations will also start to be monitored by the COR.
Where maritime support is concerned, the company operates through Wilson Sons Ultratug Offshore, a joint venture with Chilean group Ultramar. Last year, in the midst of a fairly stable period in the Brazilian OSV market, the company reported good results, with new vessels, orders and renegotiation of contracts. According to Gustavo Machado, Wilson Sons Ultratug Offshore’s executive director, the results were driven mainly by the readjustment of the daily rates in dollars of eight contracts.
He further highlighted the delivery of PSV Zarapito in March 2014. It is the nineteenth in-house vessel of the fleet and the last to be delivered in the context of those ordered during the third round of Petrobras’s Maritime Support Fleet Renovation Program (Prorefam). Also in relation to Prorefam, Wilson Sons Ultratug Offshore won the tender for newbuildings during the programme’s sixth round: two 4,500-tonne PSVs, already on order with Wilson Sons Shipyards.
However, Machado added that there was little growth in the fleet supporting oil & gas companies last year – and he believes Petrobras will prioritise existing vessels in 2015.
Another recent highlight for the company was the implementation of the WSUT+ safety programme, the objective of which is to promote cultural change in the workforce to ensure increased operational safety.
Towage company signs software deal
Brazilian harbour services company SAAM Smit Towage has signed up to Helm Marine Operations software to manage its billing and dispatch.
SAAM Smit Towage started towage operations in Brazil in 2008 and is now active in eight ports and terminals. It provides assistance to incoming and outgoing seagoing vessels.
Robert Martijn Smits, commercial manager of Smit Brazil, said: “We chose Helm because with the expansion of SAAM Smit Towage in Brazil we needed a confident, 100 per cent reliable and professional dispatch system to accompany us in our growth.”
Smits added that the group already uses Helm in other parts of the world with positive feedback, and together with the professional explanations and demonstrations received, believes that the company is an ideal partner.