Southern Towing selects MTU Series 4000 engines for six inland towboats

(NOVI, Mich.) — MTU, the specialist for propulsion and power systems for ships and commercial marine equipment, has been selected by Memphis-based Southern Towing Co. to power six inland waterway towboats. Four new and two existing vessels will be outfitted with a total of 12 Series 4000 Ironmen engines in 8- and 12-cylinder configurations. Renowned for their durability and reliability, engines from the Rolls-Royce Power Systems subsidiary MTU were selected because of their unmatched power, fuel economy and performance.

“Southern Towing’s investment in the Series 4000 represents our belief that the competitive edge in the inland waterways transportation business belongs to companies that move beyond the legacy engines of the past to the higher-powered, more fuel-efficient engines of the future,” said Tommy McCoin, chief engineer, Southern Towing.

Powered by twin MTU 8V 4000 engines designed to run at a constant 1,800 rpm, the first two new vessels to be put into service with MTU’s Series 4000 were 100-foot z-drive sister towboats named the Paula Fortier and Theresa Echols. Soon to follow were two 120-foot z-drive towboats christened Capt. Tommy Parrish and Capt. H.R. Kirtley, both powered by twin MTU 12V 4000 M53 engines, rated to produce 1,851 bhp at 1,800 rpm. The Series 4000 engines are matched to ZF Marine z-drive steering systems.

“The Series 4000 engine offers Southern Towing’s fleet superior fuel economy, emissions regulation compliance and industry-leading reliability,” said Ryan Szubinski, commercial marine sales manager, MTU America. “We constantly strive to adapt to ever-changing customer needs and federal standards while providing the best solutions for the shifting inland waterway transportation industry.”

Two repower projects, each utilizing the MTU 12V 4000 M53 engine, are still on the horizon. The new engines will increase overall fuel efficiency and decrease emissions for two existing pushboats.

Stewart and Stevenson, MTU’s regional distributor, sold the engines to Southern Towing.

“Southern Towing has a reputation for being an innovative, early adopting company and their selection of the Series 4000 reaffirms that position,” said Chad Lemoine, senior sales representative at Stewart and Stevenson.

Raising the bar

Many of the 10,000 towboats on the 25,000 miles of navigable inland waterways in the U.S. were built between the 1950s and 1980s and are operating with legacy engines. With its engine upgrades, Southern Towing now operates one of the most fuel-efficient inland barge fleets on the Mississippi River System and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. With the help of the Series 4000, Southern Towing’s boats not only push more cargo further using less fuel, but they also have improved maneuverability.

MTU’s distributor network, including Stewart and Stevenson, spans the massive Mississippi River System and acts as a unique support structure for MTU customers. Other distributors along the river system include W.W. Williams, Western Branch Diesel, United Engines, Inland Power Group, Interstate Power Systems and Penn Power Group.

About MTU America Inc.

MTU America Inc. based in Novi, Mich., is the American regional headquarters of Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG. It is responsible for the manufacture, development, sales and service of MTU and MTU Onsite Energy branded products in North and Latin America. Production facilities are located in Aiken, S.C., and Mankato, Minn.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is a world-leading provider of high- and medium-speed diesel and gas engines, drive systems, distributed energy systems and fuel injection systems for the most demanding requirements. The product portfolio includes MTU-branded high-speed engines and drive systems for ships, heavy land, rail and defense vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. Under the MTU Onsite Energy brand, the company sells diesel and gas-based power system solutions: from mission-critical to standby power to continuous power, heating and cooling. The Norwegian subsidiary Bergen Engines AS manufactures medium-speed engines for ships and power plants. L'Orange completes the portfolio with injection systems for large engines.

Rolls-Royce PLC and Daimler AG each has a 50 percent shareholding in the company via a joint venture–Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding GmbH. The company, which employs over 10,000 people, has been fully consolidated in the results of Rolls-Royce PLC since January 2013.

By Professional Mariner Staff