SAAM Towage

SAAM Towage’s electric tugs about to head for Canada

The first two electric tugs for SAAM Towage’s fleet, built by the Turkish shipyard Sanmar, are ready to sail from the Port of Tuzla to Vancouver, Canada, where they will join the fleet operating in that country. The Chile-based tug provider operates more than 20 tugs along Canada’s west coast at nine ports in British Columbia.

Image credit SAAM Towage

SAAM Towage’s Engineering and Development Manager, Pablo Cáceres, noted that “we are one step closer to having our electric tugs operating, which for us represents the way to advance towards more sustainable operations and move our business into the future.”

The two vessels have completed their final seaworthiness trials and will soon be loaded onto the cargo ship BBC Emerald, a maneuver that requires two 400-ton cranes.

The tugs were purchased as part of an agreement between SAAM Towage, Teck and Neptune, as part of their strategy to acquire vessels that would have high environmental quality and reduce GHG emissions while also cutting underwater noise. The deal was announced in October 2022.

The ElectRA 2300SX was designed by Robert Allan and has an overall length of 23 meters and 70 tons of bollard pull. At full capacity, both units will reduce CO2 emissions by 2,600 metric tons a year, according to SAAM Towage.

They are powered by two Li-ion battery banks, making them 100% electric, zero-emission vessels, and they will be charged using clean energy from the British Columbia power grid.

SAAM Towage added that given the situation in the Panama Canal, they will travel to Canada via the Strait of Magellan, which will take about 60 days.

The tug company has a fleet of 210 tugs at more than 90 ports in the Americas, completing over 140,000 maneuvers for around 40,000 vessels every year.