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Fleet of Electric Tugboats Unveiled in Vancouver by SAAM and Public and Private Sector Partners

By 10 de April de 2024Investors, The Company, Towage

SAAM Towage Canada Becomes First Zero-Emission Electric Tug Operator in the Port of Vancouver


xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territory/VANCOUVER, BC, April 10, 2024 — SAAM Towage and its coalition of value-aligned partners in the public and private sector, unveiled the first 100% electric, zero-emission tugboats that will service local clients in the Port of Vancouver starting this spring.

The official launch took place at the Port of Vancouver on Wednesday, April 10, and opened with a traditional welcome from the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. The two electric tugs were launched in a special event with the Indigenous partners in the presence of government officials and leading sector organizations.

“In all the world, there are only a handful of electric tugboats in operation. We’ll now see two of them hard at work in Vancouver’s magnificent harbour,” said Premier David Eby. “The reduction in pollution from these electric tugs is the equivalent of taking 600 vehicles off the road. The future is happening right now in British Columbia.”

With support from the Province of BC, Teck Resources Limited (Teck), Neptune Terminals and the help of SAAM’s partners Oldendorff Carriers and BC Hydro, this initiative represents a leap forward for the industry. It will drive sustainable environmental changes through innovation while partnering with Indigenous stewards of the lands and waters. The initiative has been incorporated into SAAM’s corporate strategy, which has its first milestone in Canada.

“Today, we are taking a decisive step into the future. The christening and commissioning of our first electric tugs are proof of our commitment to move towards increasingly sustainable operations, seeking the best solutions tailored to each customer and the conditions at each port,” said SAAM’s CEO, Macario Valdés.

Electric tug operations will commence in May, using clean energy from British Columbia’s hydroelectric power grid. Industry partner Teck Resources Limited supports the initiative and has committed to using SAAM Towage’s services at Neptune Terminals, in line with both companies’ goals for sustainable operations.

“By adding electric-powered tugboats to our fleet, SAAM Towage is leading the way in maritime operations and is a testament to our commitment,” said the President and Country Manager of SAAM Towage Canada, Sander Bikkers. “Together with our value-aligned partners, we aim to set a positive example for the industry in the hopes that others will join us and follow suit here in Canada and globally.”

SAAM anticipates its two inaugural battery electric tugs will reduce CO2 emissions by 2,400 metric tons annually. The tugs also emit considerably less marine noise, significantly reducing impacts on the environment and aquatic life in Port of Vancouver and beyond.

SAAM’s new ElectRA 2300-SX fleet is based on the exclusive design from leading Vancouver naval architects Robert Allan Ltd (RAL), resulting from a collaboration between RAL, SAAM Towage, SANMAR Shipyards, Corvus Energy, among others.


Chief Jen Thomas, Elected Chief, səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation)
“As stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial, Tsleil-Waututh Nation is always looking for innovative ways to put less strain on the environment while still reflecting our cultural values.”

Honourable Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness

“SAAM Towage’s two new fully electric tugs are a welcomed addition to the busy Port of Vancouver and are going to have a major impact on how industry is powering marine operations. Although these are the first electric tugs in the Port, we are hoping they inspire others to make the switch. This project is supported through B.C.’s CleanBC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots program which is helping industry to reduce emissions in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sector, resulting in cleaner air and water for people now and for future generations.”

Honourable Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
“Supporting clean fuels and innovative technologies is a crucial element in B.C.’s Maritime Industries Strategy, a key action in the StrongerBC Economic Plan. By working together with partners like SAAM Towage, we are growing our industry, and creating more opportunities for British Columbians while lessening our environmental impacts on our waters.”

Jonathan Price, president and CEO, Teck –
 “The launch of these first electric tugs marks another important step forward as we collaborate with our transportation partners to reduce emissions in the mining supply chain and develop green transportation corridors as part of our overall climate strategy supporting our emissions reduction goals.”

Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro –

“At BC Hydro, 98 per cent of the electricity we generate comes from clean and renewable resources. We are committed to helping organizations like SAAM Towage take vital steps to electrify their fleet and reduce their carbon emissions.”

Duncan Wilson, vice president of Environment and External Affairs at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

“We’re thrilled to see leadership by partners like SAAM Towage, Teck Resources and Neptune Terminals towards reducing emissions from commercial shipping with the arrival of the first electric tugs servicing the Port of Vancouver. We commend our partners across the port community and industry at large for their continued efforts to create a cleaner future for trade through the Port of Vancouver.”

Mike Fitzpatrick, president and CEO, Robert Allan Ltd.

“Robert Allan Ltd. are proud to have been able to collaborate with SAAM on the design of these exceptional tugs. For electric tugs to be a viable alternative to their diesel-powered counterparts, they need to be optimized for their specific operating conditions and so the close cooperation between SAAM as the operator, Robert Allan Ltd. as the designer and Sanmar as the shipyard was crucial to the success of this project.”

Russ, McNeil, managing director Vancouver, Oldendorff Carriers
“Oldendorff Carriers would like to take this opportunity to congratulate SAAM Towage for driving sustainable innovation in the marine towing industry. We are looking forward to working with their two new fully electric tugs when our vessels call the beautiful Port of Vancouver. All stakeholders in the maritime supply chain, including our company, have a vital role to play in reducing the environmental impacts of marine operations. We are therefore very pleased to be collaborating with like-minded organizations from the public and private sectors, including, SAAM Towage, Teck Resources, Neptune Terminals and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.”

To learn more about SAAM and its operations in Canada, visit



About SAAM

SAAM is a multinational company of Chilean origin that provides services to international trade through two business areas: Tugboats and Air Cargo Logistics. The company operates at over 90 ports in 13 countries and has a modern fleet of over 200 tugs. In Canada, SAAM Towage operates more than 25 tugs along the west coast at eight ports in British Columbia. They are the leading provider of towage services in the Americas and the third largest worldwide.