On Thursday, March 14, Captain Arthur Fournier, founder of the 54-year old Portland Tugboat and Shipdocking Company, rocked the tugboat world when he, along with Captain Brian McAllister, founder of McAllister Towing and Transportation
, announced that the two companies would merge together as one.
According to an industry source, the announcement, which was made by the heads of both family-owned businesses at the Port of Portland Propeller Club
's monthly meeting, defines a new generation in the growing tugboat industry. Also present for the announcement were president Brian McAllister's nephew, A.J., and sons Eric and Buckley, who will continue to serve in their current positions as vice presidents with the company.
The 138-year old McAllister Towing purchased
100 percent of all of Portland Tugboat's assets, bringing together the two companies that will combine their fleets, offering customers added resources, while maintaining cost-effectiveness.
The new company, which will be known as Portland Tugboat LLC, will be headed by the Arthur Fournier's son, Captain Brian J. Fournier, who will serve as president. The elder Fournier will serve as a consultant for McAllister Towing and as a docking senior pilot for Portland Tugboat LLC, as well as continuing to oversee the daily operations of Portland Tugboat LLC.
Joining McAllister's fleet of famed tugs - most recently the sister Z-drive tugs Janet and Vicki McAllister - will be Portland Tugboat's seven-member fleet, including the XYTB tug Wathena, which is currently undergoing a refit to a Z-drive.
Formerly known as Penebscot Bay Towing, Portland Tugboat moved its operations 25-years ago from Belfast, Maine, to Portland more than 25 years ago. Since then, the company, which was founded by the elder Fournier in 1953 when he purchased his first tug for $1 has grown to operate one of the most powerful fleet of shipdocking tugs on the East Coast.
McAllister Towing and Transportation, based in New York City, was founded in 1864 by Captain James McAllister upon his arrival in the U.S. from Ireland. Since then, the company has literally created a "dynasty" within the tug world, establishing itself as one of the foremost fleets in the industry.
The melding of these two companies - Portland Tugboat and Shipdocking and McAllister Towing - will more than likely set a new tone within the tugboat industry as a company that is resourceful - for generations ahead.
-- Regina P. Ciardiello