Some shippers assume that a container vessel is going to be only transportation method for how their containers move in the water. The truth is that although a container ship might be the primary method for transportation, there are other ships used in the process. For example, some of the waterways near a port might be too thin for a vessel. Or there could be numerous bridges near the port that would prevent a container vessel from fitting through. That is where tugboats come in handy.
Tugboats are a integral part of the ocean freight shipping process. Since container vessels do not cross the waterways that are narrow, the crew members on the ship will place the containers on a container barge. In turn, a tugboat is pulling the barge. Usually, the tugboat pulls the barge by a wire connection. A barge, after all, lacks power. It depends on a tugboat for movement. While in the waterways, maneuvering of the tugboat depends on the tide. For shorter waterways, pulling a barge might be insufficient. That is why in really short waterways, the tugboat might first try to push the barge from the stern. Or, as an alternative, use two tugs for movement.
Tugboats have been around for many years in the maritime industry, across the world. It is about time that shippers understand and appreciate the importance of a tugboat. Speak to your trusted freight forwarder if you have any questions about the role of a tugboat with your international freight shipment.