ETA organised its Sustainable Conference Electrification and Digitalization of the towage industry on the 2nd of February in Brussels. 55 delegates attended the event, which was dedicated to explore the realities linked to the electrification of tugs, its state of play and the necessary actions policy makers and the industry need to define in order to support this process.

The discussions, smoothly moderated by Nick Price, Century Marine, focused on the different measures companies, ports and policy makers are carrying out in order to make the electrification of the industry a viable and efficient reality.

Konstantinos Rigas, Ports and Inland Navigation, DG MOVE, presented the numerous measures in different policy fields (R&D, Environment, Transport..) the EU is implementing in order to green the maritime sector and specifically, to foster the use of electricity in ports and shipping.

Erik van Schaik, Product Manager Tugs, Damen Shipyards, described the company´s latest plans to develop new hybrid and battery powered tugboats like Sparky, Damen´s first all-electric harbour tug operated by the Port of Auckland.

Tamer Geçkin, R&D and Electrical Systems Director, Sanmar Shipyards outlined the advantages electricity poses compared to other green solutions like hydrogen or e-fuels and presented Sanmar´s Electra 2300SX, a tug designed with 3616 kWh of battery capacity and specifically adapted for ship-berthing and un-berthing operations.

Finally, Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer, Port of Antwerp-Bruges presented the Port Authority´s plan to go carbon neutral by 2050, which among other measures, implies the greening of the port´s fleet with a mix of solutions like the construction of hydrogen and methanol fuelled tugs and the extensive use of shore power and digital solutions to reduce the port´s carbon footprint and improve its energy efficiency.  

The ETA Secretariat thanks all participants and speakers for a very interesting debate on the sector´s electrification efforts. We are looking forward to meeting our members again in our next Annual Meeting in Alicante, from the 13th to the 16th of June.

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