Beyond Bollard Pull: return on investment in innovative Tugs and Tug components
Alec Laing was asked to give the orientation paper for the conference to set the scene.
He then chaired a panel: ‘Does taking consideration of environmental aspects pay off in actual financial terms?’
Environmental issues in Tug operation – “The Carrot and the Stick”
It took the world 200,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion and only 200 more years to reach a population of 7 billion. This is the stark reality of pressure on resources and the environment that Alec Laing used to introduce the session on the environment.
Mr. Laing, founder of ACL Shipbrokers, an independent brokerage specialising in port tugs is frequently in contact with owners and he identified that the two key, current concerns of the industry are the environment and safety.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear in 2015 that the continued use of fossil fuels and human-induced climate change was a very real threat. Changes in mean temperatures of just 0.5 – 1.5 degrees Celcius could make a huge difference, with loss of ice, rising sea levels and more extreme weather. To reach temperature control targets the world must be carbon neutral by 2050. It means 98% of internal combustion engine cars, for example, must be phased out.
For port tugs, Mr Laing said this was a matter to be considered urgently as their place in the ultra-low carbon future would need to be achieved in what is, in effect, the lifespan of tug.
“This is not an issue of remote science: how we live and work will make the difference. What can we, as an industry, do to reduce emissions and accelerate towards a greener port tug industry?” he questioned.
Mr Laing set out three areas of interest:
How “green” is the European port tug fleet; what are the current hydrocarbon fuel consumption levels and emissions and what are the prospects for tugs of the future.
The current tug fleet compromises 98% conventionally powered craft; 1% hybrid and 1% LNG. Noting the relevant commercial considerations, Mr Laing said the two unconventional power sources naturally come at a price premium but there is no recognition of that in the day rates these vessels can achieve. It is key, therefore, to increase the efficiency of the 98%.
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