Published in Economic Times

MUMBAI : The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways(MoPSW)  has issued a standard operating  procedure (SOP) for progressive replacement of  existing diesel -powered tugs with zero- emission tugs built locally for greening of operations at state owned ports.

The Ministry has set a five phase timeline ending 2047 by which the 12 state owned ports must make their tug fleet fully green  under the Green Tug Transition Program (GTTP) per SOP.

In the first phase Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority, Deendayal Port Authority, Paradip port Authority and V O Chidambaranar Port Authority will each buy two new green tugs( battery electric powered) by 2027.

In the Second Phase, between 2027 and 2030, atleast 50% of the tugs operating in these four state -run major ports should be green tugs.

Besides, atleast 25 percentage of tug fleets in all the other major ports under MoPSW should be GTTP compliant.This phase may also involve the adoption of alternate / green fuels such as methanol , hydrogen etc in addition to battery electric propulsion. Any other emergent green technologies can also be considered based on developments in the industry.

In the third phase ( 2030 – 2035), all ports under MoPSW should ensure that atleast 50 percentage of their tug fleet are GTTP compliant.

In the fourth phase (2035-2040), all state- owned ports should ensure that atleast 75% of their tug fleets are GTTP compliant.

In the fifth phase (2040-2047) , all the 12 major ports should ensure that 100 percentage of their tug fleet are GTTP compliant.

From the Third Phase onwards, the major ports can also consider new or additional emergent green technologies for tugs based on based on developments in the industry.

To help the ports in obtaining the standardized, globally benchmarked designs and specifications for tugs confirming to the request green criteria,  the Ministry through the Indian Ports Association (IPA) will publish an Approved Standard Tug Design Specifications- Green Tug Transition Program (ASTDS-GTTP).The ASTDS-GTTP shall be published separately for each phase of the program.

The Standing Specifications Committee (SSC) set up by the Ministry in 2020 is mandated to prepare the standardised specification for GTTP compliant Tugs (ASDTS -GTTP).The SSC shall prepare separate ASDTS- GTTP for each of the five phase which will be published prior to the commencement of the respective phase.

The public ports have been given the flexibility to either purchase the ASTDS-GTTP compliant tugs or charter them for not less than 15 years. The  charter period will not be ended pre-maturely for the soul reason of transition to subsequent phase of GTTP.

Tugs constructed during previous GTTP phases, complying with the respective ASTDS-GTTP specifications, can be utilised by the ports in subsequent phases. Nevertheless , port shall ensure that any tug keel laid during a particular GTTP phase shall comply with the ASTDS-GTTP specifications of the respective phase.

Tugs complying with ASTDS -GTTP must be build in Indian Shipyards.

The Ministry will extend financial support of the 30 percentage for building Green tugs, MoPSW had said previously.

Louding the governments initiative to promote green shipbuilding in India, Sanjeev Walia, Advisor, Shipyard Association of India, a lobby group said it will “yield positive results”.

Tug owners / operators , though are not enthused with the Ministry’s move.

“Hardly two years ago, the Ministry come out with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Policy , making it mandatory for major ports to buy or charter tugs(normal tugs) built in Indian yards. Now, they are saying henceforth all the tugs will be green tugs.So  what will we do with the normal tugs that are under construction at Indian Yards based on the Atmanirbhar Bharat Policy”, said the tug operator.

“Everybody wants to showoff without any thought process or understanding of the industry”, he said , asking not to be named.

The Ministry, according to the tug operator, has told the tug owners to “ market these tugs(normal tugs) outside”.

“Tugs being built in Indian Yards cost 30 percent  more than those built in overseas yards. No port will pay 30 percent higher charter rates, so going outside is not a feasible option”, he added.

Ports under the administrative control of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways must comply with the targets set by each of the GTTP phases.

However, demand for tugs beyond GTTP targets(until the end of Phase 5) may be met by the ASTDS complaint tugs per the ‘SOP for charter / procurement of tugs by major ports under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ issued by the Ministry in 2020.

The world is moving towards carbon neutrality with more countries pledging to reduce their carbon emissions to meet (and exceed) obligations under the Paris accord and contain the temperature rise within 1.50 C by the end of this century, MoPSW said while issuing the SOP.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency tasked with regulating global shipping, has adopted a greenhouse Gas(GHG) emission reduction strategy for shipping to reach net – Zero by 2050.

The Maritime India Vision 2030 identifies key interventions to propel India towards a safe, sustainable and green maritime sector. These include targets for increasing the share of renewable energy to 60 percent of the total power demand of esch major port through solar and wind – generated power.It also envisages a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions per ton of cargo handled by 2030.Further, the vision also urges all the ports to switch 50 percent of their vehicles to greener fuels by 2030.

Harbor tugs form an indispensable part of port operations.Around 350-400 tugs operate in Indian Ports in both Public and Private sectors.

By virtue of their unique operating profile, harbour tugs provide a huge potetntial for emission reductions at the ports, MoPSW said.

Tugs undertake high power operations only for a very short duration of time, which is typically less than 5 percent if their total operating hours.A major share of their operating time is spend in low power operations such as loitering, stand by and low-bollard pull.

Further, harbour tugs are always operating closer to the port.

“Owqing to these factors, tugs provide a very suitable platform to adopt green solutions such as electric propulsion systems and alternate fuels , without compromising on the operational aspects of the vessels.Thus, progressive replacement of assisting diesel- powered tugs with Zero emission tugs is essential for greening of port operations”, the MoPSW said in the SOP.

To enable service providers to plan positioning of Indian Built tugs  per ASTDS-GTTP, tenders for ASTDS-GTTP compliant tugs( both direct procurement as well as for charter), issued by the Ports shall incorporate a minimum bidding time of not less than 12 weeks.ASTDS-GTTP will aid the tendering port to finalize the tender within a shorter duration.

Incase none of the bidders  ina tender are able to position Indian bid tugs complying with ASTDS-GTTP , then bidders shall be granted options of offereing alternate tug meeting the operational requiremnets of the port,on the condtion that the tug initially offered is substituted within an Indian build tugs as per the ASTDS-GTTP not later than 24 months from the date of commencement of the charter, failing which the party shall be liable for penalties as stipulated in the tender.

The defaulting parties will also be barred from participating in future tenders for chartering of any type of vessel for all ports under the ministry of ports, Shipping, and Waterways.


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