Founded in 1905 under the name “Fairplay Schleppdampfschiffs-Reederei Richard Borchard”, today, the Fairplay Towage Group is one of the leading towage companies in Europe.
Credits: FAITPLAY TOWAGE GROUP
This philosophy has served the company well over the past 117 years. Since the merger of Fairplay Towage and Bugsier in 2017, the company now has bases in 29 European ports, including Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brake, Nordenham, Wilhelmshaven, Rostock, Wismar and Mukran. The group is also represented in the Polish ports of Gdynia, Świnoujście and Szczecin. Fairplay Towage offers its maritime services worldwide from these ports and numerous other locations with a total of 105 tugboats, which are suitable for a wide range of requirements thanks to their high performance propulsion systems of up to 5,500 kilowatts and a bollard pull of up to 105 tonnes.
One provider, abundant solutions
The backbone of the group is tugboat assistance, offshore towage, long-distance towing and coastal protection. The tugboat assistance service involves ships of all kinds – from container ships to bulk carriers and supertankers – being safely manoeuvred in the port with one or more tugboats, whilst the offshore towage service includes oil rig manoeuvre and the towing of docks and hoisting platforms for offshore wind energy, amongst other things. “Long-distance towing assignments could even involve transporting a ship from the Bahamas to Bremerhaven,” explained Schwesig. The managing director is particularly proud that, as a founding member of the German association of tug and salvage operators, Fairplay is currently providing the federal government with the three special tugboats – the “Baltic”, “Fairplay 35” and “Nordic” – to provide emergency assistance and prevent damage to the environment.
A plea for better port cooperation
Reflecting on the developments of the past two-and-a-half years, he summarised: “So far, the pandemic and war in Ukraine have not had a major impact on our daily operations. What has changed is the fact that ships are entering ports more irregularly. But up to now we have always been flexible enough to adapt to these requirements.” That said, this kind of flexibility is something that Schwesig feels is lacking when it comes to the cooperation between German seaports. “Germany is lacking an overall strategy to be better positioned in relation to international competition. The key here is to throw old animosity and pride overboard and to work together on solutions that extend beyond individual port boundaries. If we were to cooperate more closely with one another, there would be a much higher chance of competing with the likes of Rotterdam and Antwerp, for example, whose efficiency and collaboration with other ports is, in my opinion, impressive.”