Seaspan has once again opened up it’s wallet to beat the competition. This time, Van Isle Barge Service was acquired by Seaspan and rolled into it’s Seaspan Ferries Corporation portfolio. Van Isles Barge Service was operated by Peter Brown’s Sea Link Marine Services, and by all account was Seaspan Ferries main competition in the “drop trailer” freight ferry service to Vancouver Island.
Seaspan spokesperson, Kelly Francis, stated that all the services of Van Isle Barge Service, including its terminals and sailings, will remain as is, for the time being. The staff have been offered positions within the Seaspan Ferries umbrella.
|Seaspan Greg, by Seaspan|
The “low key” deal, completed December 9th, 2011, “…includes the acquisition of 3 barges and the operating rights to two terminals in Surrey and Duke Point, as well as a charter party agreement with Sea-Link Marine Services Ltd. to provide pusher tug service.”
M. Francis goes on to state;
This purchase signals Seaspan’s commitment to the BC marine transportation industry – The drop trailer business is core to Seaspan and this transaction provides an opportunity for SFC to reinvest in its fleet and operations – We are passionate about continuing the legacy of providing first class drop trailer ferry services between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Seaspan Ferry Corp, previously known as Seaspan Coastal Intermodal, is composed of the former assets of CP Rail’s coastal operations, acquired in 1998, by Montana (USA) based industrialist billionaire, Dennis Washington.
In 1999, the fleet is comprised of the truck ferries Seaspan Greg and Seaspan Doris, operating (generally) between Tilbury Island (Vancouver) and Downtown Nanaimo; and the truck / rail car ferries, Carrier Princess and Princess Superior operating between Tilbury Island and Swartz Bay (Victoria). Seaspan added the articulated tug and barge unit, Seaspan Challenger and barge Coastal Spirit a few years later, to the Nanaimo run.
|Seaspan Challenger and barge Coastal Spirit, M. Leduc|
With all the above vessels still operating, and the addition of the three ATB’s from Van Isle Barge Service, Seaspan is now the dominate choice for moving freight, by sea, to Vancouver Island‘s 750,000 residents. BC ferries had tried to utilized its unused capacity to challenge the trade, but was rebuffed when they were deemed to be excessively subsidize by taxpayers, and therefore had an unfair competitive advantage.
|Ocean Wrestler, M. Leduc|
With this deal, Sea Link shrinks further its presence on the BC waterfront. Sea Link for a while operated a good deal of older vessels on the coast under various shell companies. The group was mired in numerous deadly workplace incidents over its history. They are / were involved in deep sea towing, log / log barge towing, drop trailer barge service and general tug towing.