Among the giants

Among the Giants

Xia Gang Tuo 21, Tug

The tugboat Xia Gang Tuo 21 operates in the Port of Xiamen, China, where everything is bigger – and the traffic just doesn’t stop.

Over the years, Xiamen has consistently made the list of the twenty busiest ports in the world. But these days, it’s not just the volume of container traffic that the port is contending with – it’s the size of the ships, too. As rising fuel costs drive the shipping industry’s focus on “economy of scale”, more and more ultra-large container vessels are populating shipping routes. And like other major ports that want to stay vital and competitive as the seascape changes, Xiamen has had to invest heavily in upgrading its infrastructure. Beginning in 2006, the port has integrated with twelve others nearby to increase its capacity, and has also dredged nearly 35km of its navigation channel so that two 100,000-ton Panamax vessels could sail through in both directions at once. The port also recently spent $18 million to expand its tugboat fleet.

Maneuverability is power

Xia Gang Tuo 21 is one of these newbuilds. Delivered in January 2014, the tugboat was designed to be powerful enough to handle the oversized vessels calling in Xiamen. But unlike those lumbering giants, Xia Gang Tuo 21 relies on her maneuverability and fast engine response every hour of the day. It’s a matter of necessity, given the port’s chaotic atmosphere: the tugboat’s 17-person crew is typically only given ten minutes’ warning before they have to be in position. And the traffic just doesn’t stop; each tug typically assumes 170 to 180 tasks per month.


Among the Giants

Learn more on how Xia Gang Tuo 21 relies on her maneuverability and fast engine response every hour of the day handle the oversized vessels.


Among the Giants - Xia Gang Tuo 21, Tug, China

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