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Eighty percent of our consumer goods are imported. Of that 80 percent, 98 percent comes through our harbors. In hard numbers, over a recent nine-month period, that equated to nearly 900,000 20-foot containers flowing into our ports.
“That’s a lot of containers,” says Michael Formby, state director of harbors. “That’s why tugs are so critical.”
To better understand that work, Hawaiian Tug & Barge, a division of the larger Young Bros. Ltd., cleared Hawaii Business to follow a small portion of its activity over a month-long period, allowing us an inside look at the vessels that keep the lifeblood of our economy flowing.
The reason tugboats are so critical is simply the size of the ships coming into port matched with the size of the harbors. When you get so much weight moving, with such little room for error, if something goes awry, the damage can be substantial. Allowing a highly maneuverable tugboat to assist entry and exit vastly reduces the chance of an accident.
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