Rio Tinto will extend its association with port towage company Westug by agreeing to a new US$148 ($200) million, five-year contract with the WA company.

The deal means Westug will continue to provide towage services for Rio over four terminals at its two Pilbara ports, Dampier and Cape Lambert, from which the mining giant ships about 330 million tonnes of iron ore to its Asian customers.

Under the contract, Westug will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of Rio’s fleet of 11 tugs and four smaller craft.

The contract will help sustain more than 130 jobs.

Westug has also agreed to an enhanced local procurement strategy under the new contract.

Rio Tinto Rail, Port and Core Services Managing Director Ivan Vella said towage operations and vessel maintenance were a critical element in the company’s supply chain.

“Rio Tinto has a long history of working with Westug at our ports and this new contract is an endorsement of both the value and opportunity available in the next phase of our relationship,” he said.

“Importantly, Rio Tinto’s values around local procurement align with those of Westug’s and we look forward to seeing the benefits of this approach flow through to local businesses and workers in the Pilbara.”