Kotug forms inland shipping division based on electric pusher tugs

Towage services provider Kotug has decided to create an inland shipping division to provide electric-powered pusher tugs and smart AI-driven dispatch and route planning applications for the inland water transportation industry.


With this move, the company said it aims to support the worldwide energy transition and the modal shift from road transport to waterways while meeting the growing demand for electric-powered vessels.  

View on Youtube.

“The inland shipping market offers a great opportunity for sustainable logistical solutions,” Ard-Jan Kooren, CEO of Kotug International B.V, commented.

 “The start with activities for the inland shipping market is a natural development and a step forward in our ambition to be part of the solution of the transition towards a zero-emission maritime industry.”

The set-up of the inland shipping activities results from developing a range of modular and scalable electric pusher tugs, the E-Pusher Series, powered by swappable energy containers.

The E-Pusher Series currently has three models ranging from 5.5 to 22 meters in length and a maximum depth of 0.45 to 1.35 meters resulting in a draft that is 30% less than conventional pusher tug designs.

Due to the modular approach and lean assembly method, Kotug reduced the construction time by more than 25% compared to traditional vessels. Together with its partners, Kotug developed various energy containers ranging from Stage V diesel, (bio)gas and hydrogen to battery solutions.

For smart operations, the company will use OptiPort, a dispatching, route and reporting tool. Kotug OptiPort is an automated dispatching system based on historical and real-time information bridging port and terminal information with ship operations. The tool supports fleet owners in optimizing expected departure- and arrival times, routing and speed control, leading to reduced energy usage and just-in-time departure and arrival.

Photo: Kotug

With Kotug CityBarge B.V., the company recently started activities in the municipality of Leiden with a 5.5-meter E-Pusher providing a zero-emission alternative for heavy truck transport in inner-cities. Kotug CityBarge BV. is a partnership of Kotug with Circle Line Logistics B.V., aiming to make cities more liveable by restoring existing inner-city waterways by using them to transport garbage, construction materials and retail products.

”The Province of South Holland is involved since the start of the project around reinstating waterways as a means of transport, with the development of the CityBarge (the smallest version of the e-Pusher),” Jeannette Baljeu, Regional Inland Shipping Minister, said.

“Clean transport is one of our priorities. By bringing together business and government to solve mutual challenges, solutions like the E-Pusher are no longer just paper ideas but market-ready products. I strongly believe in the E-Pusher concept;  it improves the liveability in cities and boosts the growth of tech industries in the Province of South Holland and beyond.“