Tug Boat

Seabulk Towing Inc. 

Description: Seabulk Towing, Inc. (Seabulk), a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings Inc., is recognized by the towing industry as an established leader in harbor ship assist operations and offshore towing services. Seabulk assists petroleum and chemical product tankers, barges, container ships and other cargo vessels in docking and undocking and provides LNG terminal support services along the Gulf Coast and the Southeastern Seaboard.

Challenge: Seabulk had grown over time through acquisition of other companies in different ports. As a result, they had decentralized dispatch and a billing system that was unique to each of their six ports and did not communicate with one another. As a result, it was difficult for Seabulk to obtain summed up data for analysis. They also had dispatch and invoicing software built by a third party contracting company that was no longer available to support it. Seabulk needed a solution that would not disrupt operations, give them the flexibility to centralize their dispatch and billing and accommodate their variable rate billing structure.

Proposed Solution: Helm had already developed Helm Dispatch Manager™ for Hawaiian Tug and Barge and SMIT, which was also a multi-port system. Because of the similarity of the company models, very little customization was required with the exception of billing, which had variable rates unique to all six of Seabulk’s ports. Helm centralized all dispatch and invoicing on one database, so that all data could be easily compiled and analyzed by management. Helm was also implemented one port at a time so the billing module could be customized to accommodate the different rates per port. Helm then ran parallel to Seabulk’s original system to ensure it handled all of Seabulk’s requirements in that port before going live. 

Outcome: Helm Dispatch Manager ™ has cut Seabulk’s billing process time by 50%. The centralizing of data has given Seabulk real visibility into their operations and more customer knowledge, to serve them better. The centralizing of dispatch has also given Seabulk the flexibility to move dispatch and billing to any location, and it helps with the cross training of dispatchers in each port.

Seabulk is moving forward with the implementation of Helm Onboard™, which will allow dispatch to assign jobs to tugs that show up on the vessels. It will also allow captains to input job related information onboard where it then automatically sends to shore.


"In a very short period of time we had Helm customized to meet our needs, and were up and running in six different locations. Entering all pertinent job scheduling into Helm flows with ease into invoicing and then transferring data to an external accounting software. The simplicity of Helm Dispatch Manager enables our billing process to go out in half the time it took us prior to using Helm."
- Michelle Brown,
Seabulk Towing Inc