A new value-add service that makes both marine and air transfer services available on B.C.’s south coast is just the latest example of Tidal Transport’s innovative thinking to meet the needs of the shipping industry.
Tymac, a division of Port Moody-based Tidal Transport, is partnering with Richmond-based Helijet International to offer a “one-stop-shop” shuttle service for sea-pilots, ship owners and agents, surveyors and Transport Canada inspectors needing to reach offshore locations. The service is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
“Together with Helijet, we’re excited to be working on creating a seamless marine and air service to accommodate ship-to-shore sea-pilot transfers via marine vessel or helicopter deck landing, plus hoisting flight operations,” said Ron Brinkhurst, President of Tidal Transport, who, along with Helijet President and CEO Daniel Sitnam, recently welcomed key stakeholders from B.C.’s shipping community to the Helijet terminal at Vancouver International Airport to unveil the new partnership. Brinkhurst and Sitnam described a central, unified dispatch program that will provide integrated and safe access to both marine and/or helicopter transfers back and forth from ship anchorages located on the south coast and in the Lower Mainland.
Photo above: Top: The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter to be used for the new Tymac/Helijet transfer service; Below (left to right): Captain Robin Stewart (President, BC Coast Pilots), Brendan McCormick (Director, Flight Operations, Helijet), Ron Brinkhurst (President, Tidal Transport), and Daniel Sitnam (President & CEO, Helijet).
Standing in front of a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter – the same type already in use and proven for sea-pilot transfer operations in Germany and other parts of the world, Sitnam noted that this aircraft type is capable of meeting Category “A” single-engine performance requirements under Transport Canada Class “D” external human cargo operations. The helicopter, or a like equivalent will be dedicated to the program.
“This is a proof of concept, and we have selected this specific aircraft to begin trials due to its high-power rated, twin engine powerplant, meeting and exceeding the required single-engine performance necessary to meet Class “D” live load operating regulations,” said Sitnam. “We’ll begin with on-deck landing transfers during daylight hours. Once the benefits of the service are proven with industry, we propose to move to hoisting operations within six to nine months, and further advance to day and night air service provision.”
During that time, Helijet will work through the regulatory environment, hire full-time, experienced and dedicated cabin hoist personnel, while developing a best practice hoisting operations curriculum and standard operating procedures, in conjunction with industry expectations.
Through the new venture, significant economies of scale are expected to be achieved by integrating pilot ship transfers to and from any one of Helijet’s three Transport Canada-certified Heliport bases which are all located in close proximity to Tymac operations (Victoria Harbour, Vancouver Harbour and Nanaimo Harbour, in addition to service from Helijet’s Vancouver International Airport facility). The elimination of duplicate fixed costs common to both businesses (for example, dispatching systems and related labour costs; ground and vehicle handling services) will allow for even greater savings.
Helijet will also be able to offer direct connections from its existing scheduled city-to-city passenger air service at these bases, resulting in significant ground time savings. Given the exemplary safety record, existing assets and infrastructure of both Helijet and Tymac, the companies are able to offer this combined service at no additional cost, and without requiring a guaranteed flight hour commitment.
Additional details on the program highlighted ways in which costs would be minimized:
“Helijet has the best existing infrastructure on the West Coast,” said Brinkhurst. “In addition, their professionalism and reliability make them a great fit with Tymac’s own corporate culture. Recognizing the great potential of this service and the benefits that will be realized by the industry, we’re very excited to partner with Helijet.”
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