Tisbury’s select board voted Wednesday to oppose a barging company’s proposal to ship large freight between New Bedford and the Steamship Authority terminal in Vineyard Haven.

The board instructed town administrator John (Jay) Grande to send the Steamship Authority a letter urging denial of an application from New Bedford-based 41 North Offshore to provide freight service between the two ports.

Doing business as Island Freight Line, 41 North Offshore currently carries trucks, heavy equipment, modular buildings and similar freight between New Bedford and Nantucket, under a contract with the Steamship Authority.

Company owner Jonah Mikutowicz told the Steamship Authority’s governing board in November that he consistently receives requests for Vineyard service, year-round.

But Tisbury officials say their town has a well-established, locally-owned barge company, Tisbury Towing and Transportation, that takes freight the Steamship Authority cannot accommodate.

“We already have a company that’s doing this. They’re already there,” said harbormaster John Crocker, one of several town department heads who were invited to weigh in on the issue during Wednesday’s select board meeting at Katharine Cornell Theatre.

In addition to its Tisbury terminal, the towing company also has a facility in New Bedford, Tisbury Towing representative Glenn DeBlase told the select board.

“We fulfill that need,” he said. “If someone calls us, we bring it over.”

Tisbury Towing can take oversized items like swimming pools as well as hazardous freight such as jet fuel for the airport, which the company has carried at the Steamship Authority’s request, Mr. DeBlase said.

“We have a great working relationship with the authority right now and they will call us,” he said.

Select board member John Cahill, who represents Tisbury on the Steamship Authority port council, said because the SSA will not transport damaged electric vehicles, Tisbury Towing is the only company that can remove such EVs from the Island.

“In the last month, they took about eight or nine, all Teslas,” Mr. Cahill said.

The Tisbury company’s location, on the east side of Vineyard Haven harbor, is better suited for a barge terminal than the Steamship Authority’s facility because it lies outside both the busy central harbor and the Five Corners vehicle intersection, town officials said. 

“It’s much less invasive … they’re going to stay more out of the main body of the harbor [and] they only need to come in and make a 90 degree turn-in and a 90 degree turn-out, instead of a 180 degree turn-out,” Mr. Crocker said. 

“Those trucks don’t have to go through Five Corners if they go through Tisbury Towing and Transportation,” he added.

Traffic — both on and off the water — was one of Mr. Grande’s chief objections to the proposal, which would schedule two barge trips each weekday between New Bedford and the SSA terminal.

“We have a recreational mooring field, both in the inner and outer harbor. We have a federal anchorage area … We are where people come, we’re the gateway year-round, and certainly we accommodate a lot of truck traffic now through Five Corners,” he said.

“This is a proposed business that is going to contribute more vehicle traffic, truck traffic, into a failing intersection,” Mr. Grande said.

The Steamship Authority is accepting public comments through Feb. 16 on the application for scheduled barge service from 41 North Offshore in New Bedford.

The governing board will take up the matter after the public comment period has ended.