People Around the Port: Dan Albert, Tug Boat Captain

Dan Albert on ATL tug.jpg

Pictured here: Dan Albert, tugboat captain for Atlantic Towing Limited at the Port of Saint John.

Port Saint John is a busy place. Many people, doing many different jobs, all contribute to keeping things moving.

It is easy to assume that everyone who works here is a Port Saint John employee – but that’s not true. A great number of the people who work on the water and on the wharves work for partner companies who provide essential services.

Today we’re featuring Dan Albert, who is one of seven tugboat captains working for Port Saint John partner company Atlantic Towing Limited. We asked him about the kind of work he does, and how he started out on the tugs.


A:  Tugs are an integral part of harbour operation, ensuring the safe and timely docking and undocking of ships in the Saint John harbour.


A:  Most of my work consists of providing ship assist for tankers and cargo ships in Courtenay Bay, and cargo ships in the main harbour – helping them move safely in and out of the harbour. We also assist the odd cruise ship when the weather calls for it, and can get called to fill in at Canaport and assist with LNG tankers. 

I’m also responsible for ship management and ship maintenance. We have a preventive maintenance program onboard our tugs that keep the crews busy throughout each day, along with regular maintenance and upkeep of the boats.


A:  Operating the tug is definitely my favourite part of the job. I have always enjoyed manoeuvring boats, it never gets old for me. 


A:  The most exciting and challenging day I’ve had on the job was when I passed my exams to become Captain and started training the very next day on a brand new Z-drive tug.

It was very challenging, because these tug were unconventional at the time. They do not have a steering wheel like you would expect, as they are operated by joysticks and are highly manoeuvrable.

It took a while to wrap my brain around this new concept of tug manoeuvring, especially as a Captain just starting out.


A:  I have been with Atlantic Towing for 31 years full-time this coming July. It was a natural fit for me, because my family has a strong connection to the company.

My father (Claudius) worked here for 46 years before retirement, and my uncle Augustine worked here for roughly 42 years before his retirement.

My brother also started working with Atlantic Towing at the age of 14 or 15. He still works on a tug at this time, but for Irving Oil (Canaport).

Several of my cousins also worked here over the years. My cousin Mario Gionet started out as a deckhand then went on to become Chief Engineer and is presently Superintendent.


A:  I started going on the tugs with my father from the time I was 5 years old. When my brother and I were a little older, Dad would let us bring a friend with us for trips up the river to Chipman.

I started working on the St. John River with my father during the summer months when I was 14 years old. At that age, I had to get a note from my doctor and a work permit to be able to work on the river tugs.

I started out as deckhand, and there wasn’t any type of formal training like they have now. It was all on-the-job training.

I became mate in 1991. To be a mate, I went to the School of Fisheries in Caraquet for four months and then to Holland College for an extra two months to complete my courses the following winter.

In 1995, I went to the Nova Scotia Community College to become Captain.


A:  My advice would be to take pride and interest in your job, stay motivated, and to always try to be the best worker you can be. 

To learn more about careers at Atlantic Towing visit their website.

Editors’ Note:  Watch for the tug water display in the harbour on Community Day, June 12, 2016 at 1 pm.  Dan Albert just maybe the captain on one of the tugs!




Port Days 2016 offers expanded business programming

group gary charlotte and walter

From left: Gary Doer, Co-chair of the Canada Institute Advisory Board at the Wilson Centre, former Ambassador to the United States and former Premier of Manitoba; Charlotte Bell, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada; and Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Managing Director, Economist and Chief Strategist for the U.S. Ports, Airports and Global Infrastructure Group at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Port Days has always offered great speakers and topics related to import/export, global transportation infrastructure, and international partnerships – but the 2016 schedule is bigger and better than ever.

“For the first time ever, the Port Days line-up includes concurrent sessions, which means we have more to offer than ever before,” says Jim Quinn, President and CEO of Port Saint John. “This year our Tuesday business sessions offer delegates the choice of attending sessions on cargo, rail and infrastructure – or sessions on cruise and tourism development.”

Here are the highlights of this year’s schedule:

MONDAY JUNE 13: Delegates can choose to attend the Port Days Golf Tournament at the Algonquin Resort Golf Course, or the Tastes of NB Walking Tour. We get back together in the evening for the Opening Reception, and the Port Award of the Year celebration.

TUESDAY JUNE 14: At Breakfast, we’ll start out by getting motivated for the rest of the business discussions by hearing from speaker Dr. David Scott – sports psychologist and consultant to the Sea Dogs and to NHL teams.

Then we’ll adjourn to attend the business panel sessions from 8:45 am – 11:45 am which will run in two concurrent steams and feature a variety of speakers on topics including the economic social impacts of ports and opportunities in rail on the cargo stream, and growth/trends and infrastructure/product development in the cruise and tourism stream:

Economic and Social Benefits of
Trade & Ports                                              

Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Managing Director, Economist and Chief Strategist
JLL Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure
Stephen E. Lund, CEO
Opportunities New Brunswick
Wendy Zatylny, President
Association of Canadian Port Authorities


Cruise & Tourism – Trends for Growth
Perspectives from Global to Local

Charlotte Bell, CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Cindy Creamer-Rouse, Director
Department of Tourism, Culture & Heritage, Province of New Brunswick
Victoria Clarke
Executive Director, Discover Saint John
Beth Kelly Hatt, Founder, Aquila Tours
Rail Opportunities

Tommy Browning, VP of Marketing and Sales – Energy, Merchandise, Bulk & Auto,
CP Railway
Wayne T. Power, Group VP, Transportation & Logistics Division
J.D. Irving, Limited
Kelly Levis, Asst. VP Sales & Marketing,
CN Railway
John Giles, President
Central Maine & Quebec Railway



Cruise and Tourism- The Bricks & Mortar of Achieving Growth – What is on our horizon?

Claire Foote, Port Services Development and Planning Manager, Carnival Group UK
Beth Kelly Hatt – Fort LaTour Development
Victoria Clarke –  Food Tourism Strategy
Nancy Lockerbie – Fundy Trail Parkway
Kent MacIntyre – Fundy Quay and Boardwalk
Dennis Campbell – An exciting new project

Over the Port Days Keynote Luncheon, hosted in partnership with The Chamber and the East Coast Energy Connection, we’ll hear from speaker Gary Doer, Co-chair of the Canada Institute Advisory Board at the Wilson Centre,  former ambassador to the United States and former Premier of Manitoba.

The afternoon marks the start of the East Coast Energy Connection agenda, with sessions taking place at the Delta Brunswick Hotel.

The evening’s festivities celebrate another successful Port Days and with the ever-popular Seafood Fiesta reception and dinner!

We hope you’ll join us this year!

For the full schedule, as well as registration information, visit

Bridging ports and communities

946675_527277710641449_1052265426_nWe love our community. It’s where we grew up.

That’s why Port Saint John wants to connect with the people who make our Port City such a vibrant place.

This weekend, Port Saint John president and CEO Jim Quinn and Greg Norton, City of Saint John councillor for Ward 1, will be travelling to Nanaimo, B.C. for the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) annual general meeting. The Port City representatives will be sitting on a panel called Community Partnerships, with Norton’s visit supported by ACPA.

“This city grew up around Port Saint John and, as a port, we want to be able to give back to our city. I am pleased to be on the panel, sharing our example with other port authorities. ACPA supporting Councillor Norton’s participation is a clear signal that together Port Saint John and the City are recognized for our innovative approach to forging positive relationships,” Quinn said.

Investing in the local community is one of the pillars Port Saint John is built around. Annually, the Port contributes over $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations to local organizations, specifically those that improve the lives of children and families living below the poverty line.

Maybe you have come to one of our annual Community Day celebrations? This day of fun, held every June, is a chance for locals to visit the Port and enjoy some activities, a barbecue and more. The event raises funds for a local children’s charity and next year, you can join us for our fourth annual Community Day on June 8.

Norton said the relationship between the Port and the community is an important one in ensuring a safe, healthy and happy city.

“Our Port of Saint John is standout because it is where our region, city and respective communities meet global economic leaders and forces. Across the Saint John region, the port is invested in a network of economic, social and environmental partnerships that begin at the waterfront and positively impact whole communities and the people who live here,” he said.

Port Days 2013

2013 Port Days Logo (Vertical)

From a leisurely cruise down the river, to a day of business networking – Port Days has something for everyone.

Port Days, hosted annually by Port Saint John, blends business and fun. Hundreds of delegates travel to the Port City from across the world to connect with New Brunswick and Latin American business leaders.

Port Days opens on June 9 with Community Day, sponsored by Irving Oil. The third annual event gives locals a chance to explore Port Saint John, indulge in some barbecue, play carnival games, bounce on the inflatable castles and more. This year’s event raises funds for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools).

The theme behind Port Days this year is Strengthening North-South Trade Links, with Tropical Shipping as the Platinum Sponsor. Port Days will focus on our existing and opportune trade connections with Latin America and the Caribbean. The business session speaking program includes a panel discussion with international and regional leaders.

Moderator: Andrew Dixon
Senior Vice-President, Planning and Development at Port Saint John
• Sanjeev Chowdhury
Consul General of Canada, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
• Morten Johansen
Executive Director and Vice-President – DP World Caucedo
• Wayne T. Power
Group Vice President, Transportation and Logistics Division – J.D. Irving Limited
• Michael Broad
President – Shipping Federation of Canada
• Alex Leon
Trade Commissioner – Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica
• Joel Richardson
Executive Director, Export Development – Department of Economic Development, Government of New Brunswick

Business leaders will also be taking part in an incoming trade mission to bolster trade links between New Brunswick and Latin America, specifically Brazil, Costa Rica and the Caribbean.

Port Days offers numerous opportunities to network and take in the region’s natural beauty with a golf tournament at Westfield Golf and Country Club, a St. John River and Harbour Cruise and Seafood Fiesta to close the event on June 11.

For a full list of sponsors, schedule, ticket prices and to register, visit