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.