Tidewater - 80 Years of Service, Pride & Integrity

Linking the Pacific Northwest with the World


In 1932, Lew Russell, Sr., became interested in the river transportation of industrial commodities and began renting steam-powered sternwheel ships to move customer products from port to port. Throughout the ensuing years Lew set the framework of Tidewater Barge Lines and ten years later, in 1942, the Tidewater-Shaver Transportation Company was established. In 1960, Tidewater became a full-fledged, independent tug and barge transportation company under the name of Tidewater Barges Lines.


In 1951, Ray Hickey got a job as a deck hand on a Tidewater tugboat. After spending his first four years on the Leland James, Ray transferred to the ocean division and became the chief engineer on the Tillamook, Tidewater's first ocean-going tugboat. In 1967, Ray became the operations manager of the ocean division and then was promoted to general manager in 1970, overseeing both ocean and river operations. He became president of Tidewater in 1977.


From 1974 to 1996, the company would add tugboats Captain Bob, Defiance, Invader, Outlaw, Maverick, Tidewater, Sundial, the Chief and Hurricane, while adding over twenty grain and grain/petroleum combination barges, petroleum barges Glenn, Atlas, Pioneer, Explorer, and Prospector, as well as a number of container and deck barges.


Tidewater purchased both Knappton's and Columbia Marine Lines' assets in 1984 and 1987, respectively, adding the boats Rebel and Challenger to the fleet, plus thirty grain barges and several general-use barges.


Tidewater Terminal Company was established in the early 1950s to support the barge transportation business. Terminals at Vancouver WA, Umatilla OR, Pasco WA and Clarkston WA were built to receive and deliver bulk liquid products to and from barges. Beginning in the late 1970s additional Terminal facilities were constructed or operated by Tidewater Terminal Company at Clarkston, WA; Pasco, WA; Boardman, OR; and Vancouver, WA, to handle containerized cargo and wood chips.


The Snake River Terminal was rebuilt in 1995, with a new automated truck rack, additional petroleum storage and upgraded pump and piping systems.

In 1996, Ray Hickey sold Tidewater, now the largest inland tug and barge company west of the Mississippi, to an East Coast investment group.
Wes Hickey served as president of Tidewater from 1996-1999. During this time the petroleum barge Tri-Cities Voyager was built.
Stephen Frasher served as president from 1999-2003.
Raymond Kiive served as president from 2003-2004.
In 2005, members of Tidewater's management team in partnership with equity investor Endeavor Capital bought Tidewater. Dennis McVicker is president & CEO.
During the period of 2005-2008, four new double-hulled petroleum barges were built: New Dawn, New Endeavor, New Vision and New Frontier.
In 2008, Tidewater purchased Foss Maritime's upper river assets which consisted of 2 tugs, 7 grain barges and 13 bin and flat deck barges.
Tidewater announces partnership with new equity investor, Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners in December 2012. In June 2013, Bob Curcio joined Tidewater as its new President & CEO.
Tidewater awarded contract to build 3 new tugboats to Vigor Fab in Portland. The first new tug, Crown Point, was delivered on April 20, 2015. The vessel's Christening took place on June 27, 2015. The second towboat, Granite Point, was delivered December 2015. The third towboat, Ryan Point, had its keel laying on April 21, 2015 and was delivered in June 2016. The joint christening of the Granite and Ryan Point took place June 11, 2016. 
In September of 2017, Tidewater acquired Canada-based Island Tug and Barge, and ITB Subsea.

In January, 2019, Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners, Ullico, BlackRock, Silverfern, and certain other co-investors acquired Tidewater Transportation and Terminals from Stonepeak. Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners is an independently-owned private investment firm focused primarily on diversified North American infrastructure private equity investments.

On January 16, 2020, Tidewater's Board of Directors announced Todd Busch as the company's new President and Chief Executive Officer. 

6305 NW Old Lower River Rd

Vancouver, WA  98660


PO Box 1210

Vancouver, WA  98666

WA  (360) 693-1491

OR   (503) 281-0081

Fax  (360) 694-8981


  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter