Ports of Auckland are welcoming an exciting addition to their fleet, with the highly-anticipated arrival of the world’s first full size, ship-handling electric tug. Affectionately named Sparky, as voted by New Zealanders in a public vote in 2020, the e-tug is part of
an innovative project that no other port globally has previously embarked on.
Sparky marks the beginning of a new era for the Auckland Port, who are anticipating saving
approximately 465 tonnes of CO2 in diesel emissions annually from the e-tug addition alone. Roger Gray, CEO of Ports of Auckland said, “Welcoming Sparky is an exciting day for us at the Ports of Auckland. Her arrival marks a big step towards the ports’ decarbonisation of operations and towards our long-term emissions reduction goals.”
The expected cost of operating Sparky is less than a third of the cost of running a diesel tug. Battery operated, the e-tug has a recharge time of approximately two hours and can run up to four shipping moves on one charge. For Allan D’Souza, GM Marine and Multi Cargo at Ports of Auckland and lead on the e-tug project, the arrival of Sparky has been six years in the making. “Back in 2016 when we first pitched the idea for a fully electric tug, we were told we were dreaming. To finally welcome her to Tāmaki Makaurau now is incredible.”
“You’ll be able to spot Sparky on the water as her superstructure is painted bright green, unlike our diesel tugs” says D’Souza. “What you won’t notice is noise or smoke; being electric she’s a lot quieter, and cleaner, than our current diesel tugs.”
There will be approximately six weeks of testing in Auckland before Sparky is fully commissioned and operational. “E-tugs are the future for ship handling and Ports of Auckland are proud to have led the way,” says Gray.