Sometime next week, a new Baltimore-area based tugboat company, Taylor Marine Services Inc., expects to begin operations.
The company headed by James E. Taylor, who lives along Rock Creek in northern Anne Arundel County, has purchased six tugboats from a bankrupt company in New Jersey. The new company will specialize in vessel support for dredging projects, marine construction and similar work. It also will also provide towing services, such as transporting barges on the bay.
Taylor Marine will not compete against the two tugboat companies that assist ships as they enter and leave the port of Baltimore.
Captain Taylor said he expects his company to employ more than 70 people, all of whom will be members of Local Union 25, Marine Division of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
When the tugboats are not at a work site, they will be kept at WhiteRocks Marina in northern Anne Arundel County, but the company is looking for a more central site in Baltimore harbor. Captain Taylor said he is discussing with Baltimore officials the possibility of renting a city-owned site near Fells Point.
The six tugboats cost the company about $1 million, he said. Ranging in size from 58 feet to 88 feet, the boats are shallow-draft vessels suitable for working in the shallow water often associated with construction and dredging projects.
Taylor Marine already has lined up a number of contracts, including the towing of barges transporting precast concrete construction materials produced by a Norfolk, Va., company, Captain Taylor said. He said he expects his company to do $5 million to $6 million worth of business annually and to have a payroll of $2.2 million.
"Everyone will be union," said Captain Taylor, a longtime member of Local Union 25. He said he expects the union connection to provide greater harmony. "Everyone is
after one thing: getting the job done and doing it right," he said.
The vessels previously belonged to the bankrupt East Coast Tender Services Inc., based in Sea Bright, N.J. Captain Taylor said he is waiting for the bankruptcy court to approve an offer he has made for two more of the company's vessels.
Because of the nature of the marine construction business, only companies with the right kind of tugs can enter the market, said Roy O. Crosset Jr., business agent for Local Union 25.
Since the demise of East Coast Tender Services, shallow-draft workboats of the kind acquired by Taylor Marine have been in short supply, he said.
Captain Taylor said that as a small company, Taylor Marine should have very little overhead. In addition, he said, his company will be willing to take on small contracts that a larger company might spurn.
"We can lower our prices. A lot of these large companies don't want the work anyway," he said.