Tugz Florida Franchise Is Pending

Friday, December 22, 2000
Following months of intense scrutiny, financial due diligence, background checks and equipment review, Ronald C. Rasmus, president of TUGZ International, LLC, is confident his firm meets or exceeds all requirements for securing a franchise permit to provide tugboat and towing services at Port Everglades, Fla. If the franchise is awarded, TUGZ will be the first tug company to compete against Hvide Marine at the Fort Lauderdale port, one of the busiest ports on the eastern seaboard.

"Despite its size as Florida's largest port and 5,809 ship calls a year, Port Everglades remains the only major, diversified port in the United States that limits its tug service, by government franchise, to a single tug company," says Mr. Rasmus. "We look forward to creating a healthy competitive environment for the ship owners and operators who use the Port and to providing vital services that are essential to port safety and efficiency."

TUGZ is planning to invest more than $15 million worth of state-of-the-art tug equipment in its move to Port Everglades, including its proprietary "Z-Class" design and another class of tractor tug designed specifically for Port Everglades.

In addition, TUGZ will use Port Everglades as a base of operations for other marine operations, bringing money and jobs into the Fort Lauderdale area. The Board of County Commissioners of Broward County will decide on the TUGZ's application in a public hearing now scheduled for some time in January 2001 at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 St. Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

TUGZ - a wholly owned subsidiary of The Great Lakes Towing Company and Admiral Towing and Barge Company - provides towing, docking and undocking assistance for all types of vessels, including U.S. Naval vessels. The Group owns and operates a fleet of over 50 tugboats in 37 ports on the Great Lakes, the East Coast, the Caribbean and in Hawaii, and operates its own shipyard and dry-dock repair facility.

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