Port of Antwerp Orders Europe's First All-Electric Tug From Damen

Courtesy Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Published Oct 11, 2023 5:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is set to become the first port in Europe with an all-electric tug thanks to a new six-workboat order with Damen. 

The fleet-renewal purchase includes five diesel-powered reversed stern drive harbor tugs and one all-electric version of the same design, dubbed the RSD-E. The battery-electric variant will have 70 tons of bolloard pull, and will be the first of its type in Europe.

The RSD design is more energy-efficient than comparable ASD tugs, according to the Port of Antwerp, and its special design allows it to be used in forward or stern-facing orientations for more tasks. Antwerp already has three RSD tugs and is expanding its fleet with the order. 

“With the purchase of these new energy-efficient tugs, we have reached another milestone on our way to a green fleet. Our ambition is to be carbon-neutral by 2050 by pursuing various sustainability paths and daring to pioneer innovative technologies. These tugs are a prime example of what our sustainable future should look like," said Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer at Port of Antwerp-Bruges. 

Antwerp-Bruges is also set to debut the world's first tugs powered by hydrogen (CMB's Hydrotug) and by methanol (the port's own Methatug).

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to the largest chemical manufacturing cluster in Europe, and it accounts for about 10 percent of all CO2 emissions in the nation of Belgium, spokesman Guy Janssens told Euronews earlier this year. The port is positioning itself for a lower-carbon future with on-site wind turbines, shore power, and green hydrogen fueled equipment.