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Electric tug at Port of Vancouver

Photo courtesy SAAM Towage

Electric Tug Fleet Launches at Port of Vancouver

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1361
April 11, 2024

SAAM Towage, in collaboration with a consortium of public and private sector partners, has unveiled the first 100% electric, zero-emission tugboats at the Port of Vancouver.

The official unveiling, held on Wednesday, was attended by government officials, sector leaders, and Indigenous partners, and marked by a traditional welcome from the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

“In all the world, there are only a handful of electric tugboats in operation. We’ll now see two of them hard at work in Vancouver’s magnificent harbour,” said Premier David Eby. “The reduction in pollution from these electric tugs is the equivalent of taking 600 vehicles off the road. The future is happening right now in British Columbia.”

The project is backed by the Province of BC, Teck Resources Limited, Neptune Terminals, Oldendorff Carriers, and BC Hydro.

Operations of the electric tugs are slated to begin in May, leveraging clean energy from British Columbia’s hydroelectric power grid. Teck Resources Limited, an industry partner, has pledged its support for the initiative and has committed to using SAAM Towage’s services at Neptune Terminals, a bulk shipping terminal in North Vancouver.

“The launch of our first electric tugs is evidence of our commitment to increasingly green operations,” said Macario Valdés, SAAM’s CEO.

The two inaugural battery electric tugs have 70 tonnes of bollard pull. They are projected to decrease CO2 emissions by 2,400 metric tons annually, contributing significantly to environmental preservation. They will also generate considerably less marine noise, reducing impacts on aquatic life.

The ElectRA 2300-SX tugs were designed by Vancouver’s Robert Allan Ltd (RAL) and built by SANMAR Shipyards in Turkey. They are the result of a collaboration between RAL, SAAM Towage, SANMAR Shipyards, and Corvus Energy.

“By adding electric-powered tugboats to our fleet, SAAM Towage is leading the way in maritime operations and is a testament to our commitment,” said the President and Country Manager of SAAM Towage Canada, Sander Bikkers. “Together with our value-aligned partners, we aim to set a positive example for the industry in the hopes that others will join us and follow suit here in Canada and globally.”

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