Port of Felixstowe to buy 48 electric tractors in bid to go green

One of the new semi-automated cranes being bought by the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk

One of the new semi-automated cranes being bought by the Port of Felixstowe - Credit: Michael Davies

The Port of Felixstowe has announced it plans to buy 48 electric tractors, and 17 zero emissions remote-controlled cranes as part of a drive to reduce its environmental impact. 

Port bosses said they were examining ways to eventually reach net zero, including working with partners such as Cranfield University, EDF, and Sizewell C. 

The electric tractors, provided by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC), will be the first at the UK's largest port.

Konecranes Finland has supplied the remote-controlled gantry cranes, which will be fitted with the latest semi-automation technology. 

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer at the Port of Felixstowe, said: “This order represents the latest part of our plan to reduce the environmental impact of our operations.

"In total, replacing 48 diesel-powered tractor units and 17 conventional RTGs with new electrical equipment will save 6,662 tonnes of CO2 and 59.38 tonnes of NOx emissions every year.

“We have reduced our carbon footprint by 30% since 2015.

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"That has been achieved through a range of measures including the first phase of our programme to phase out diesel-powered yard cranes.

"These latest acquisitions will help drive further substantial reductions in the future and help us to reach our target of a further 20% reduction over the next 5 years.”

The port has to upgrade its infrastructure to make use of this new equipment, and plans to reinforce its high-voltage power distribution system to support the cranes and install ten charging stations for the tractors. 

The Suffolk port, along with neighbouring Harwich International, is involved with feasibility studies into becoming a net-zero port and a net-zero energy hub for the wider region.

Clemence Cheng, managing director Hutchison Ports Europe and joint chair of Hutchison Ports Group Sustainability Committee, said: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and Hutchison Ports is committed to playing its part by minimising the impact of port operations on the environment.

"Promoting a culture of technological innovation and adoption of alternative fuels is a key strand of our strategy.

"This investment takes us another step nearer to our goal.”