The tug boat was built by Dutch company Damen Shipyards and is expected to save the port approximately US$12 million in operating costs.
Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said in a statement: “We’re serious about our commitment to being Zero Emission by 2040 and in order to achieve that, there’s a few changes we have to make – one of those being the diesel-consuming, emission-producing machines we operate.
“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.
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The six-metre tug is expected to be the first fully electric ship-handling tug with 70 tonnes bollard pull.
“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,” Gibson added.
“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. And that’s where we set to work proving them wrong. The world’s first full-size, fully electric tug with 70 tonnes of bollard pull will be arriving in Tamaki Makaurau in 2021.
James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, said Ports of Auckland was finding new ways to operate greener despite the technology is not yet enabling this.
“Many of the challenges we face with climate change will require solutions that aren’t yet on the market. Ports of Auckland and an increasing number of other businesses across New Zealand are showing that won’t stop them finding ways to meet our goals on greenhouse gas emission reductions,” Shaw added.