ISS to supply Zeeboat with 4 all-electric towboats

New York-based tugboat company Zeeboat has selected Texas-headquartered Industrial Service Solutions (ISS) as the general contractor supporting the build of four fully electric towboats.

Artist rendering of the zero-emission, fully electric towboat. Photo: ISS

As informed, ISS will provide Zeeboat with general contract, project management and vessel support services for the manufacture and delivery of the four tugs.

Planned to become available for charter in 2025, the vessels are intended to support container transit with a zero-emissions towboat solution.

These will be the first electric towboats built in North America. Zeeboat and ISS also intend to work together on future decarbonization of ports through electrification, as the towboat charging infrastructure lends itself to expansion.

The design of the fully electric towboats will be based on The Shearer Group’s (TSGI) hull design for a 95 ft. x 34 ft. towboat. This hull shape was developed by TSGI using advanced fluid dynamic calculations and backup up by vessels in service.

According to ISS, the design has been proven to increase water flow to the propeller and increase overall efficiency of the barge/towboat combination by more than 10 percent over more traditional inland towboat designs. This hull design when coupled with an azipod drive system will improve overall transport efficiency by more than 30 percent when compared to conventional towboats and represents the highest industry standard for efficient and safe operations for inland river towboats.

Canadian company Shift Clean Energy will provide battery energy storage systems (ESS) to support the fully electric towboat operation.

“We look forward to working with ISS and Shift Clean Energy on this important project. The fully electric towboats that Zeeboat will make available for charter will be vessels for change, applying commercially proven … technologies that are both environmentally friendly and economically advantageous, reducing operating costs as well as carbon emissions,” Jonathan Braun, Zeeboat CEO, pointed out.

“ISS is honored to have been chosen as the general contractor supporting the build of these world-class towboats and are excited to be at the fore front of the industry through its transition to a more sustainable future,” Wade Stockstill, ISS CEO, commented.

“We are excited to support Zeeboat in its mission to become a significant owner of fully electric vessels for charter. Together with our industry partners, we have developed these … technologically advanced towboats and look forward to supporting decarbonization efforts for our inland waterways,” Jessica Lewis, ISS Director of Business Development, said.

“The message the marine industry received in Glasgow at COP26 was clear: this is the time to make change. Shift couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with visionary leaders like ISS and Zeeboat™ who are making electrification happen now and helping the industry get to zero emissions,” Brent Perry, Shift Clean Energy CEO, said.