Two Electric Tugboats Enter Service at the Port of Vancouver

Vancouver tugs
Courtesy SAAM / Port of Vancouver

Published Apr 11, 2024 9:35 PM by The Maritime Executive


Two electric tugboats have entered service in the Port of Vancouver, marking an important milestone for Canada’s largest port. The two 100 percent electric tugboats were launched in a special event at the port with indigenous communities’ representatives, government officials and industry stakeholders.

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

SAAM’s order for the two tugboats came through a contract with mining company Teck Resources, which agreed to use the vessels for towage at the Neptune coal/potash terminal at Port of Vancouver. The terminal is jointly owned by Teck and potash producer Canpotex (and Glencore, subject to regulatory approval sometime later this year). The German bulk carrier giant Oldendorff was also a partner in SAAM’s jump towards use of the electric tugboats.

“The christening and commissioning of our first electric tugs are proof of our commitment to move towards increasingly sustainable operations, seeking the best solutions tailored to each customer and conditions at each port,” said SAAM’s CEO, Macario Valdes.

The tug specialists at Sanmar Shipyards built the vessels in Turkey, using a Canadian design from their longtime partners at Robert Allan Ltd.  They have an overall length of 23 meters and can deliver a bollard pull of 70 tons.