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!




Our biggest Community Day yet!


From Port Saint John’s rooftop patio looking down, the parking lot was a sea of colour.

Bright bouncy castles, deep blue water, cotton candy pink, army green and a cherry red train – to name a few.

Our fourth annual Community Day was the brightest (and biggest) yet. Thousands of people flocked to the waterfront for the afternoon, with fun and fundraising in mind. The event raised $10,000 for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools), an organization helping local schoolchildren in priority neighbourhoods with the tools they need to learn and play.

We had CN Rail’s Little Obie, Irving Oil’s right whale, a tugboat watershow from Atlantic Towing, military displays and LAV rides from CFB Gagetown, equipment from Irving Equipment, trucks and a gorilla from O’Leary Buick GMC and four packed tours of the Port aboard the Aquila Tours trolley. All this, plus displays from stakeholders and community partners, cotton candy, inflatables, musical acts, Magical Memories princessesfacepaint and our brave roster of dunk tank participants! Phewf. After all that, people relaxed in the sunshine by the barbecue – sponsored by Giant Tiger and Costco.

Fully expressing our gratitude would take until next Community Day (June 7th, 2015, in case you were wondering), so we’ll share some photos and list our supporters instead.


Irving Oil


Giant Tiger
F. Andrew Simpson Contracting Ltd.
CN Rail
Saint John Airport Inc.


Saint John Marina
Larry’s Crane
Saint John Energy


MIDI Construction
Conquest Engineering
Shades of Green Garden Centre
OPUS International Consultants
O’Leary Pontiac Buick GMC
Design Art Signs
Clayco Construction (2001) Ltd.
CBCL Limited
Fundy Fencing Ltd
Commercial Tent Rentals & Sales Ltd.
Mark Campbell Plumbing & Drain Services
NRB Construction
PBX Engineering
Stevens Septic Services
Reno-Vison Construction (Harry Rowe)


Country 94 and 97.3 The Wave







Port Days: Community, Connections, Commerce


The three Cs of Port Days – Community, Connections and Commerce.

These are the things our industry has grown from and these are the things we’ll be celebrating June 8th through 10th on the waterfront.

During Port Days, the Port will play host to industry leaders and local citizens alike. At its core, Port Days is a learning opportunity. The community learns more about Port Saint John as they open their gates for an afternoon of fun. Industry leaders connect at the Port, sharing best practices, visions for the future of Port Saint John and building business relationships.  


Port City, this is where you come in.

On June 8, our gates open for Community Day. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., join us for an afternoon of fun and fundraising. The event raises funds for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) and is sponsored by Irving Oil and TransCanada.

The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal and Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal will be filled with displays and entertainment, while the parking lots will be filled with games, treats and activities.

Cotton candy and barbecued hot dogs are on the menu, with proceeds supporting PALS. Activities are free of charge, with the exception of the barbecue and snack station which will be cash only. There will also be a pay-to-play dunk tank featuring some local celebrities!

Local acts entertaining the crowd that day include Fredericton funky musician Stephen Lewis and the BIG Band of One and tomato/tomato. InterAction School of Performing Arts will be doing live theatre and some princesses will be making a magical appearance for photos.

There will be bouncy castles, air brush face painting, carnival games and multicultural displays.

CFB Gagetown will be on site with LAV rides, equipment displays and camouflage-style face painting. The tugboats from Atlantic Towing will be doing a water show in the harbour.

New for this year, our rail industry partners at CN Rail will bring their ‘Little Obie’ train and offer rides to attendees.   Little Obie’s message about railroad safety is an important one for families.

Community Day is also a learning opportunity. Aquila Tours will be offering trolley rides throughout the Port for people to learn more about what goes on behind the gates. The tour will span the east and west sides of the Port. 

Of course, we’re hoping for sun. But, if it rains, take shelter in one of the terminals or under our gigantic tent where tons of activities are taking place.


Port Days isn’t strictly business.

It’s also an opportunity for transportation industry leaders to connect and share best practices.

June 9th is all about making connections. There is a river cruise up the picturesque St. John River and a golf tournament that day.

That evening, the province’s Department of Economic Development has partnered with Port Days for the Export Awards. The event celebrates transportation excellence and collaborative partnerships in New Brunswick.

Port Days closes on June 10 with a true Maritime feast. Seafood Fiesta is a longstanding tradition at Port Saint John, with hundreds of people showing up for a relaxing lobster dinner.


Port Days has long been a vehicle for driving business to and through Port Saint John.

The event is made possible by platinum sponsor Mediterranean Shipping Company.

This year, the event’s business session will include an interview-style panel moderated by J. D. Irving Limited communications officer Geoff Britt.

Panelists have been carefully selected for their background and unique perspective on making Atlantic Canada competitive in the global marketplace.

The list includes: Joy Nott, president, Canadian Importers and Exporters Association; Michel Têtu, former diplomat and consultant in trade & international relations; Dale Thibodeau, president, DJ Thibodeau & Associates; Dan Bresolin, director of marketing, CN Railway and  Raymond Johnston, president, Green Marine Management Corporation.


This is the first year the business session will engage the online community. Using the #sjportdays on Twitter, people can direct questions to the panelists. The session is open to the public.


Following the business session, Francois Poirier of TransCanada Corporation, president of the Energy East Pipeline Project, will be giving a keynote address. The event is being held in partnership with The Chamber.  


For more information about Port Days or to register, visit


Q&A: Introducing Green Marine to the Port City.


Port Saint John was the first east coast port to join Green Marine, a voluntary environmental program, back in 2011. This June, coinciding with Port Days, the Port will play host to the organization’s GreenTech conference.

We’re proud to be involved with Green Marine and the strides they’ve made across North America as ports adopt more sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices. Find out more below from Green Marine executive director David Bolduc.

Tell us more about what Green Marine does.

Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.

It is a voluntary, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses nine key environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollutant air emissions, dry bulk handling and storage and spill prevention. Participants are shipowners, ports, terminals, Seaway corporations and shipyards based in Canada and the United States. The program encourages its participants to reduce their environmental footprint by taking concrete actions. To receive their certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through our exhaustive self-evaluation guides. They also need to have their results verified by an accredited external verifier and agree to publication of their individual results.

How has Green Marine grown since its inception?

Green Marine has more than doubled its membership since it started, in 2007. The program now counts 81 participants, compared to 34 when it started. The program was originally conceived for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence corridor, but the interest it has generated throughout the marine industry has enabled it to evolve and cover North America in its entirety. The scope of the program was broadened too. From the six initial environmental issues, Green Marine has grown to cover nine priorities and to include international shipowners and shipyard within its program.

To what do you attribute this growth to?

The program has rapidly gained a reputation for credibility and transparency, and for challenging participating companies to improve their environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance. The performance indicators are tailor-made for the industry and really address the relevant issues for the sector. Year after year, the results provide graphic evidence of the environmental program’s effectiveness in motivating a large segment of the maritime industry to undertake concrete action to protect the environment. I think companies are looking for a simple but rigorous program that can help them benchmark and improve their environmental performance and for a way to showcase what is being done. Green Marine is viewed as a results-oriented initiative that makes it possible for any marine company operating in Canada or the U.S. to reduce its environmental footprint, no matter the size of the company.

What are Green Marine’s long term goals in terms of lessening the transportation industry’s environmental footprint?

Continuous improvement is the keyword here. Green Marine is designed to encourage companies to go beyond regulatory compliance and the program itself is highly adaptive and flexible to take into account new regulations, new technologies and new best practices. That means it will never stop evolving in order to remain relevant.

So far, the global average continues on its upward trend, despite a growing membership and a more stringent program. Our goal is to continue on this path and develop new indicators to address other topics of interest and broaden our scope of evaluation. Our participants have shown how committed they are in always rising the bar higher

How does having Green Marine-certified organizations benefit the community at large?

One of the most important goals of the Green Marine program is to improve, in the long-term and collectively, the relationship between the industry and its stakeholders on sustainability issues. So far, we have been successful beyond expectations in that regard with unprecedented support and endorsement from governments and high-profile NGOs. Green Marine allows companies and ports to not only demonstrate and communicate their environmental commitment and achievements, but also to work in collaboration with these stakeholders to find concrete solutions to environmental issues. This is the right thing to do and it is certainly the key to maintaining our social license to operate.

Anything else you want to add.

We certainly hope that companies in Saint John, New-Brunswick and Atlantic Canada will seize the opportunity provided by the conference to learn more about the Green Marine program and take the decision to be part of this great initiative.

Why the Port supports Energy East


From the moment the idea was first raised, Port Saint John, servicing our entire province, has been a strong supporter of the proposed Energy East pipeline that will bring western crude from Alberta to Eastern Canada.

It is true the pipeline will help the port grow, and increase our business and commercial activity, but first and foremost, this is a project that benefits the entire province. From Saint John to Edmundston to Shippagan and beyond, we’ve seen what impact our struggling economy has had on our communities and families in New Brunswick. Jobs have been hard to find and when that happens, people start looking elsewhere for work.

In fact, a lot of our young and skilled workers have already left the province to pursue opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

Energy East isn’t going to change that by itself, but it will go a long way to turn the economic tide in New Brunswick. This project will create more than 4,000 full time jobs throughout the province in the development, construction and operational phases of the project. That’s going to provide lots of opportunities for New Brunswickers who want to stay home and work, something that is sorely needed in the coming years.

And what’s also exciting about Energy East is that it gives New Brunswick an opportunity to become a more important player in the oil and gas industry. A recent report indicated that the oil and gas industry accounts for 20 per cent of private sector investment in Canada, and the sector is a big reason our country weathered the global economic storm of 2008 and 2009 better than most. With our refinery, LNG plant and related industries, New Brunswick already has a foothold in the sector. Energy East allows our port to become a gateway to the world for western crude, making us a powerful player in world markets.

At Port Saint John we believe this is an opportunity we can’t let slip through our fingers. It was great to see our Mayor and the Chairman of Enterprise Saint John appear before a Commons committee in Ottawa recently. The message was clear. This is an opportunity for the province to thrive without handouts from the public purse. Please let us succeed.

During the development and construction of this project many workers will be needed. New Brunswick-based companies will have the opportunity to bid on different contracts related to the construction and TransCanada is committed to using local companies and workers wherever possible. There will be spinoff business and jobs for motels, stores, trucking firms and suppliers of hardware and construction materials.

At Port Saint John, the main benefit will be seen once construction is complete, with increased shipping activity to and from our facilities. What’s advantageous for us is that we are very experienced with handling this type of cargo at our port. We are Eastern Canada’s largestport facility, currently handling over 28 million metric tonnes of cargo each year. Much of that business involves the import of crude and export of petroleum products produced by the largest refinery in Canada right here in Saint John. We have the expertise and desire to seamlessly and safely handle the increased activity that would be generated by Energy East.

Jobs are the first and foremost concern in our province now as we look to keep our people home. But it’s important to remember that Energy East will also generate roughly $700 million in tax revenue for the province, according to a report on the economic impact of the pipeline by Deloitte. That will go a long way to helping us control our provincial deficit and debt over the long term. That means less pressure on our health care and education systems, and better roads and services throughout the province. The positive impact of Energy East will be province-wide and long-lasting.

This is a critical year for Energy East as it formally enters the approval process. We believe it’s important that we rally together as a province, and make the argument that this is a project our province needs and wants in order to thrive. Port Saint John is only too happy to add its voice of support. As so many have noted, as goes the Port so goes the city and we believe so goes our Province. And that is something we should all be striving for.

Peter Gaulton is Chairman of Port Saint John. Jim Quinn is its President and CEO.


Blount Small Ship Adventures embarking from Port Saint John in 2015

ImageStarting in 2015, cruise ships will be setting sail from Port Saint John.

Just weeks after Port Saint John and the province jointly announced the findings of the home porting feasibility study, Blount Small Ship Adventures has confirmed that it will originate a Bay of Fundy cruise itinerary out of the Port City.

Port Saint John was deemed well-suited to become a home port for expedition-class ships, according to the results of the feasibility study. Blount’s customer offerings and line of ships fits well within this expedition-class of vessels, carrying 98 passengers on 7-16 day tours focused on unique destinations, educational opportunities and adventure.

“We are very pleased to be able to confirm that Blount Small Ship Adventures will be homeporting one of its cruises in Saint John in 2015,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder. “The Blount line will be the first to offer cruises where passengers will start or end their cruise experience right here in New Brunswick, and this signals to other similar companies that we’re anxious for their business, too.”

The Bay of Fundy experience and the unique features of the area are all drawing interest in the region.  As recognition of the brand expands, the province and Port will be looking to expand this niche business line. 

“Unlike the average visiting cruise ship, our Port won’t be the first stop for Blount passengers. They’ll experience the city before our world-class port becomes a gateway to this region’s natural wonders. We’re proud to be part of this bigger picture and be an economic driver for culture-building industries like hospitality, tourism and retail in the province,” said Peter Gaulton, chair of Port Saint John’s board of directors. 

The feasibility study examined the strategic position of Port Saint John on the Canada-New England itinerary of expedition-class ships. It evaluated tourism offerings of Saint John and what steps Port Saint John needs to take to become a home port of expedition-class ships. These are often high-end, niche-market vessels, carrying 50 to 200 passengers plus crew. Expedition cruises are often geared toward adventurers with specific interests such as exploring nature.

During a call to Port Saint John, passengers spend an average of $60 to $80. In the case of home porting, passengers spend up to twice these amounts. Most passengers visiting home ports stay at least one night in a hotel while spending money on meals and other incidentals.

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership and our continued commitment to New Brunswick and Port Saint John,” said Nancy Blount, President, Blount Small Ship Adventures. “We have already been operating in the destination as part of Blount’s ‘Classical Maine and the Northeast’ cruise, and know it is beloved by our customers for its historic cities, charming maritime villages and the beauty of its rocky shores jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond the stunning backdrop it provides, we understand the economic impact of calling Port Saint John home, and are proud to partner with the destination and contribute to its tourism development.”

Blount Small Ship Adventures epitomizes the best of small ship cruising, offering highly authentic and personal experiences aboard amazing ships that can simply go where the big ships can’t.


Port City celebrities: Faces of FUSION boosts youth profile

ImageFaces of FUSION is like a night at the Oscars. Just trade the gold statues for handcrafted awards and Hollywood stars for Port City ones.

The awards ceremony and gala affair takes place February 28th at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal. Hosted by FUSION Saint John, a networking group for civic-minded Saint Johners, Faces of FUSION celebrates youth achievement in the community.

“It’s a source of inspiration for people. It’s an opportunity for the community to recognize young people for their hard work, even though they don’t do it for the recognition. These people are driven by passion,” Eric Savoie, chair of FUSION, said.

Finalists were unveiled online earlier this month. Winners will be announced at the celebration and, in keeping with the Evening at the Oscars theme, short video clips will showcase each finalist’s accomplishments.

Finalists are:

Arts & Culture

Apryll Stansfield

Third Space Gallery 

Personal Achievement

Adrian Phinney

Julia Wright

Immigrant Entrepreneur

Enchan Endo

Robert van de Straat & Christel Postel

Community Building

Greg Bishop

Phil Sweezey

Wendy MacDermott

Business & Entrepreneurship

Fundy CrossFit

Gilliane Nadeau

Micah Peterson

Sports & Recreation

Carly Baxter

Katie Robinson

Lisa Harlow

Port Saint John, as a sponsor, will be presenting the Personal Achievement Award. The awards themselves were designed by talented young woodworker Phil Savage, each as unique as the winners receiving them.

The evening is hyper local. In addition to celebrating Saint John youth, the food will be catered by East Coast Bistro, with Tomato Tomato and WTFunk getting the crowd moving. Hance Colburne, of CBC Information Morning, will act as MC. FUSION also partnered with creatives Kelly Lawson, Bonfire Stories and Lisa Hrabluk of Wicked Ideas. Atlantica Centre for the Arts filmed the nominee clips.

After the show, guests can take their ticket up to the Canterbury Lounge for free admission, Oscar after-party style.

“We’re aiming for Saint John to come out, dressed in their evening best and honour the achievers in our community. It’s a good opportunity to connect with people, network and talk about our community,” Savoie said.

The FUSION chair said finalists are humbled by their nominations. In fact, most of them aren’t even sure why their nominator threw their name in.

“That’s not unusual for people who have true passion in what they do. I think they are really honoured and humbled by it. Hopefully this will inspire people to get involved with causes close to their hearts,” he said.

Faces of FUSION rolls out the red carpet starting at 6:30 p.m. on February 28th at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.  Entry into the gala is reserved for those 19 and over. Tickets are $60/each and special student ticket prices are discounted 50 per cent thanks to additional support from presenting sponsor CanaportLNG.

Purchase tickets here and click here for more information.