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TUG companies Engage Marine and Smit Lamnalco have announced a joint venture.

The new entity, entitled Engage Towage, covers Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and the Port of Geelong using five azimuth-drive tugs.

According to a public statement, the joint venture seeks to provide increased choice in the Australian harbour towage market.

The existing businesses of Smit Lamnalco and Engage Marine (including Westug) are to continue to operate independently from the new joint venture.

Engage Marine Group chief executive Mark Malone said since launching Engage Marine in 2016, they had emphasised a focus on strategic partnerships and contemporary labour models.

“Engage Towage is a direct result of these ambitions and the joint venture will continue our ‘skin in the game’ approach,” Mr Malone said.

“We look forward to working with Smit Lamnalco on this joint venture.”

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Smit Lamnalco chief executive Stanley Maas said they wanted to develop their position in the harbour towage market.

“We believe the Australian towage industry is significant enough for multiple towage companies to coexist, and ultimately, competition encourages all operators to continuously improve on their service delivery,” Mr Maas said.

“We see this JV as being beneficial to clients and industry, as well as part of our own strategic growth ambition. We strongly believe in the added value of Engage Towage in this market and look forward to jointly developing the business in order to provide the best services to our clients.”

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