The Great Lakes Group


Great Lakes Shipyard Blazes a Trail

Publication: Damen Magazine
Featuring: Joe Starck, President, The Great Lakes Towing Company

The Great Lakes Towing Company and its shipyard have a history going back to 1899. From its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, it operates a number of specialist divisions, but its main business are building and repairing ships, and ship assist services including towage. The 40 tugs of The Great Lakes Towing Company operate out of 11 ports on the U.S. Great Lakes, and many of them are classics, with their hulls dating back many decades.


Two years ago, The Great Lakes Towing Company President, Joe Starck, began talking with Damen regarding the possibilities of the latter’s licensing program. As a nonĀ­-US company, Damen is prohibited by the Jones Act from building ships in the country, but Mr. Starck recognized the benefits of being able to offer local operators proven Damen designs constructed at its Shipyard in Cleveland, called Great Lakes Shipyard. Since then Mr. Starck and his team have discussed the advantages with customers that were looking for designs ready to build across a range of vessel classes, gradually building interest in the Damen proposition and explaining the cost benefits that can be gained.

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