Categories: London, News, Port of London AuthorityPublished On: 09.02.2023459 words2.4 min read

Svitzer gains gold in PLA’s Thames Green Scheme

Global towage operator, Svitzer, has achieved gold status in the Port of London Authority (PLA)’s Thames Green Scheme, in recognition of its environmental commitments and decarbonisation strategy.

Svitzer’s Dave Watson (left) and Cliff Chow (right) with Grace Staines from PLA’s Environment team.

Svitzer introduced carbon neutral biofuel across its Thames-based fleet in 2022, offering customers a new, cleaner towage service called Ecotow. The Ecotow product exclusively uses sustainable second-generation biofuels, produced using waste material such as used cooking oil as feedstocks and are certified by ISSC or RSB. Relative to marine diesel, these biofuels reduce carbon emissions by 100% on a tank-to-wake basis and about 90% on a well-to-wake basis. Use of the fuel was successfully trialled on the Thames, home to the UK’s largest port, in 2021.

Thames Green Scheme, launched in 2020, recognises early adopters of new technologies and fuels to create a cleaner and healthier environment for people and wildlife. Svitzer progressed from silver status in the scheme to gold, following the adoption of marine biofuel and use of shore power for six vessels based at the PLA’s operations site Denton in Gravesend.

Alistair Gale, PLA’s director of corporate affairs and strategy, said:

“It is great to see a global organisation like Svitzer leading the way in adopting new technologies, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions. This is good news for the tidal Thames, home to the UK’s leading port, where we are driving together towards a Net Zero future.”

Thames Vision 2050, launched last September, sets out the goal for the Port of London to remain the UK’s leading port, central to the nation’s economy, with Net Zero emissions. The PLA is targeting Net Zero in its own operations by 2040, or earlier.

Also committed to becoming fully carbon neutral by 2040, Svitzer has been making impressive progress in the last two years, announcing the design of the world’s first fuel cell tug for harbour operations, running on green methanol, in cooperation with Maersk, and the build of the next generation multipurpose tug, TRAnsverse Tug, which will be lighter in design, consume less fuel and be ground-breaking in its use of future carbon neutral fuels.

Cliff Chow, port manager for Svitzer in London, said:

“It is a great honour for Svitzer to be awarded the Thames Green Scheme Gold accreditation. Environmental responsibility is deeply integrated in our strategy, and we invest significantly in finding the right paths to meeting our ambitious decarbonisation targets. This gold status is a nice testament to the strides we are making.”

The PLA’s Thames Green Scheme is a voluntary, free-of-charge scheme for all inland commercial and services vessel operators to join and demonstrate their environmental performance.