India aims to use green tugboats in all major ports by 2025

India aims to become a global hub for green shipbuilding by 2030 and is launching a Green Tug Transition Program as part of the strategy.

The program was announced by Indian Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), Ayush Shri Sarbananda SonowaI, at the inauguration of India’s first National Center of Excellence in Green Port & Shipping (NCoEGPS) in Gurugram, Haryana, in late March.

The country’s largest shipbuilder, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) Kochi, is already making significant strides in building green ships powered by fuel cells and hydrogen.

According to the minister, the program will start with green hybrid tugs, powered by green hybrid propulsion systems and then using non-fossil fuel solutions such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

The aim is to have the first green tugs in operation in all major ports by 2025. By 2030, it is expected that at least 50% of all tugs will have switched to green tugs, which will help the country significantly reduce emissions on its way to achieving sustainable development.

The National Center of Excellence in Green Port & Shipping aims to serve as a hub for collaboration, bringing together experts, industry stakeholders and policymakers to advance regulatory frameworks and sustainable practices and accelerate the growth of green shipping in the country.

It is seen as an important step in making India’s ports and shipping greener, as part of the country’s quest to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070.

The effort is part of the Maritime Vision Document 2030 released by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Mod, a ten-year blueprint for India’s vision of a sustainable maritime sector and a vibrant blue economy.

The PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-Modal Connectivity, together with the Green Ports initiative, has already accelerated the development of a green logistics supply chain in the country. The ports have also set a target to reduce carbon emissions per tonne of cargo handled by 30% by 2030.

India has been selected as the first country under the IMO Green Voyage 2050 project to conduct a pilot project related to green shipping. The ministry has already identified that Paradip Port, Deendayal Port and VO Chidambaram Port are to be developed as hydrogen hubs capable of handling, storing and generating green hydrogen by 2030.

The development of this vital infrastructure aims to pave the way for India to build the capability to export green hydrogen produced domestically from renewable sources, with the support of NCoEGPS in terms of technology and market leadership.

Green hydrogen is expected to play a crucial role in India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission strategy as the country looks to tap into its vast renewable energy resources.

The government expects the mission to lead to the development of green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 million tonnes (MMT) per year with an associated renewable energy capacity expansion of around 125 GW in the country.

Shipping will be targeted as part of the first phase of the phased transition approach, along with steel production, long-distance transport and heavy-duty mobility.

Under the strategy, India’s public oil and gas companies would each have to charter at least one vessel powered by green hydrogen or derived fuels by 2027.

After that, they must add at least one ship powered by those fuels for each year of the mission. The oil and gas companies are currently chartering about 40 ships that are used to transport petroleum products.

In addition, India plans to establish green ammonia bunkers and fueling stations in at least one port by 2025. By 2035, all major ports in the country should have ammonia bunker facilities.

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