New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland announced the signing of a contract with Dutch company Damen Shipyards to buy the world’s first full-size, fully electric port tug. This comes in line with the port’s commitment to be zero emission by 2040, as previously announced.
Expected for delivery in 2021, the new tug will have a 70 tonne bollard pull, the same as the port’s strongest diesel tug Hauraki, also built by Damen.
In 2016 we set ourselves the goal of being zero emission by 2040. We set this goal because we recognise that urgent action is needed on climate change, and we wanted to be part of the solution. However, setting that goal created a tough challenge. We have a lot of heavy equipment, like tugs, and in 2016 there were no zero emission options,
…says Tony Gibson, CEO of Ports of Auckland.
When we first looked into buying an electric tug in 2016, there was nothing on the market. We talked to several manufacturers about building a battery powered tug. They told us we were dreaming. Hybrid tugs were possible, they said, but not battery. No way,
…says Allan D’Souza, Ports of Auckland’s General Manager Marine, Engineering and General Wharf Operations.
The life of the tug is estimated at around 25 years, saving therefore 25 years of diesel pollution and a net reduction in costs of around $2.5 million for the port, explained Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
Fortunately, the cost of operating an electric tug is less than a third of the cost of running a diesel tug. So while we pay more up front, over the life of the tug we’ll save around $12 million in operating costs, making our electric tug cheaper in the long term,
…added Mr. Gibson.
As part of its zero emission target, Ports Auckland revealed plans in late 2018 to build its first hydrogen production and refueling facility at its Waitematā port.