SVITZER aims to become carbon neutral by 2040, according to its recently revealed decarbonisation strategy.

Under the strategy the global towage operator will decarbonise in two phases.

In the first phase, the company aims to reduce the carbon dioxide intensity of its entire global fleet by 50% by 2030. And this is to pave the way to full decarbonisation over the ensuing decade, which is in line with the ambitions of its parent company, A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Svitzer will measure its progress against a 2020 baseline, which saw the company’s fleet of approximately 400 vessels emit 280,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, or the same amount as 110,000 cars.

The towage company has already implemented process changes to improve efficiency across its fleet. One example is the company’s Aim for 8 initiative, which asks crew to optimise their speed during tug mobilisation and demobilisation. Svitzer said this has saved over 255 tonnes of diesel in the UK alone.

Svitzer will also focus on changing the fuel mix of its fleet. The success of the organisation’s EcoTow project, which has seen Svitzer’s entire fleets in London, Felixstowe, and Southampton switch to low-carbon biofuels, is currently being replicated more widely across ports in the UK and to the company’s global operations.

Svitzer will also begin to explore methanol as a fuel for towage and, in the long-term, take required steps to retrofit and renew its fleet to operate on low carbon fuel solutions. 

Finally, Svitzer will focus on improving the efficiency of its fleet from a design perspective. As part of this, the company will launch its new and innovative TRAnsverse Tug design, which can generate higher steering forces than most designs of similar dimensions in a smaller, nimbler package with a reduced environmental footprint.


Svitzer CEO Kasper Nilaus said the company is not making these commitments lightly.

“Widespread changes and investment into the way we work, the fuel we burn, and the composition of our fleet will be required,” Mr Nilaus said.

“The work has already started, and the whole team at Svitzer is invigorated by the opportunity to contribute to solving this truly global challenge. We hope that by leading the way for towage we will be able to generate the cleaner, greener future that our children, our industry, ports around the globe and our oceans deserve. 

“We recognise that we can’t do this alone. Collaboration and partnerships with our customers and suppliers will be key, and we look forward to taking the industry along with us in our journey to become carbon neutral by 2040.”

Svitzer head of decarbonisation Gareth Prowse said the decarbonisation strategy is ambitious and sets a clear roadmap for Svitzer and it is achievable if the focus is on the right areas to generate real progress.

“That is why we have split our strategy into three pillars: behaviour, equipment, and fuel, and we will focus on each of these in a step change fashion to bring about carbon neutrality in a way that works for our customers and maintains the high level of service Svitzer is known for,” Mr Prowse said.

Svitzer in Australia completes more than 50,000 harbour towage jobs in Australia. It operates a fleet of more than 100 vessels that serve 28 ports and terminals in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Svitzer entered the Australian market with the acquisition of Adsteam Marine in 2007.