​​Ports of Auckland’s Sparky named ‘TIME’s Best Inventions’

by Admin
sparky tug boat port of auckland new zealand

​​Ports of Auckland’s Sparky has been named as one of TIME’s Best Inventions for 2022, Sparky is the world’s first full-sized ship handling electric tug in the world, and we are thrilled that such an innovative and sustainable vessel has been recognised as one of the best inventions of the year in the transportation category.

Sparky is the result of a six-year collaboration between Ports of Auckland and Damen Shipyards – who took on the project in 2016. Damen Shipyards became a true partner in this project, and it’s extremely rewarding to see Sparky getting this industry wide recognition.

For Allan D’Souza, GM Marine and Multi Cargo Operations at Ports of Auckland who led the e-tug project for the port, Sparky is a dream come true.

“Back in 2016, when we first pitched the idea for a fully electric tug, we were told we were dreaming. To see Sparky in real life and outperforming expectations is brilliant.  It’s all smiles now but it wasn’t all plain sailing, there were challenges along the way when COVID-19 hit, borders closed, and we couldn’t get to the ship building yard to see her progress in person. To see her moving ships for us is wonderful” says D’Souza.

Roger Gray, Ports of Auckland CEO, is delighted for the team who worked virtually and across three continents during COVID-19.

“I would like to thank the ports’ Marine team and acknowledge our partner Damen Shipyards for their work. When the project started there were no emissions-free ship-handling options around; however, Damen were up for the challenge and now they’ve changed the game with our e-tug Sparky.

“Sparky is the first e-tug of its type in the world and was a truly innovative project for us. She is helping us step towards the ports’ decarbonisation of operations and towards our long-term emissions reduction goals.”

“E-tugs are the future for ship handling and Ports of Auckland are proud to have led the way. We are looking forward to seeing the rest of the industry follow her lead.” says Gray.

Sparky recently won Tug of the Year at the 2022 International Tug and Salvage Awards and is a finalist in the New Zealand Sustainable Business Network Awards.

“You’ll be able to spot Sparky on Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour as her superstructure is painted bright green, unlike our blue diesel tugs. What you won’t notice is noise or smoke; being electric she’s a lot quieter, and cleaner, than our current diesel tugs” says D’Souza.

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