Why does the largest tug operator in the Americas — serving nine countries, 60 ports and 25,000 ships each year — choose Cat® marine power? It all comes down to trust: trust in the product, trust in the support and trust in a partnership that works to the benefit of both parties.
“As we grow, I expect to go with Caterpillar all the way, all the time,” says Pablo Caceres, technical director for SAAM Towage. “And I believe Caterpillar finds in us a company they would like to grow with as well.”
Trust in the product
More than 70% of those vessels feature Cat marine engines, both main propulsion units and generator sets.
One new tugboat launched in Turkey for Canada in 2019 was SAAM Towage’s first to meet International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier III emissions standards — the equivalent of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 Final. The ST Tsimshian Warrior, which serves a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal near the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, features two Cat 3516E engines, along with C18 generator sets and a C32 engine for fire-fighting capability.
“We knew we needed to fulfill the requirements for emissions reduction, and we analyzed the different alternatives available in the market,” Caceres says. “We went with Caterpillar because we trusted the design. It’s well-adjusted to the size of our vessels and the available space and didn’t require us to change a well-proven tugboat design.”
SAAM Towage is applying the same power configuration — but with 3516C main propulsion engines instead — to one of its newest builds. These two new tugboats, currently under construction at UZMAR Shipyards in Turkey, will service the new “Energías del Pacífico” LNG Terminal in El Salvador.
Growth is the key word for SAAM Towage, a brand established in 2019 when SAAM — a multinational corporation founded in Chile in 1961 — acquired the assets it had held jointly with Boskalis for the previous five years. SAAM Towage operates tugs from Canada to the southern tip of South America, on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. When SAAM’s acquisition of 70% of Intertug is complete, SAAM Towage expects to have more than 170 tugboats in operation.
Trust in the support
Having access to engineering expertise and after-sale support across such a diverse mix of locations is critical to SAAM Towage’s success.
“Caterpillar has good technical service in the regions where we build our vessels — Turkey, Vietnam, Romania, China and many other locations,” Caceres says. “There’s also a wide range of technical support available throughout the countries where we operate.”
That support extends beyond construction and operation, however. SAAM Towage recently approached Caterpillar with a request to develop dedicated, customized maintenance plans for its tugboat engines.
“Maintenance intervals are based on very precise hours of operation, but that’s not the reality for how the engines in our tugboats are used throughout their lifetimes,” Caceres says. “We’re working with Caterpillar to find out what is the most effective, efficient maintenance interval according to the actual load profiles of our engines.”
Trust in the partnership
Caterpillar’s willingness to be flexible and open to new ideas gives SAAM Towage great confidence in the two companies’ future together.
“They’ve been very receptive and understanding of our needs,” Caceres says.
“We’ve established a good relationship, and now we’re moving in the correct direction to maintain that partnership for the lifetime of our engines.”
Source: CaterpillarTags: Caterpillar, EPA, IMO, SAAM Towage