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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Goods Movement

Hybrid Tugboats and SmartWay Upgrades
by Foss Maritime

Foss Maritime is innovator in environmental maritime vehicle design and operation

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Hybrid tugboat at Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach

Hybrid Tugboat Innovation Comes to SoCal Ports

Part of the California ARB plan calls for all harbour craft based at San Pedro Bay Ports (including POLA and POLB) to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 2 emissions requirements in the next two years.

The EPA Tier 2 requirements are part of a series of major initiatives that will reduce emissions from passenger vehicles, highway trucks and busses and non-road diesel equipment, including harbour craft. Expectations for improving air quality run high – which is where Foss’ planned hybrid tug comes in.

An estimated 40% of the containerized cargo coming and going from the U.S. passes through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Foss Maritime is one of the key suppliers of maritime equipment for these ports and following is a summary of an interview with Susan Hayman, Vice President, Health, Safety, Quality & Environment, Foss Maritime.

"The majority of our employees are mariners who spend all of their time working on the water. We consider the ports we serve as our home and all of us have a vested interest in improving the air and water quality," explains Hayman.

Getting with the Green Movement

"Getting with the program" happens when a company attaches value to its environmental initiatives.

Values include:

  • Monetary
  • Support of a fundamental core value of the company
  • Goodwill of communities in which your company works
  • Employee morale
  • Enhanced corporate image and marketing opportunities
  • Trying to help solve the problems your industry faces, and contributing what you have the power to solve.
  • Continual development of corporate capability to keep up with the marketplace and your industry

Sometimes the environmental challenge seems overwhelmingly daunting but if a company can start with small successes, the bigger victories seem like a natural progression. In this way a company can continually challenge itself to find more creative solutions to these complex problems.

Foss Maritime and California

Foss Maritime operates a fleet of 63 tugboats and 69 barges. The majority of marine vessels, including tugboats, use generators to supply power for lights, refrigeration etc ('Hotelling') while alongside a dock.

Foss has worked with energy suppliers to provide shoreside electrical power connections to provide the power for hotelling while tugs are alongside the dock. This is more energy efficient and cost efficient when compared with running diesel powered generators.

Foss has five oil barges operating in California. They are in the process of replacing the five barges in California with new barges being built in Texas. These new barges are all double hulled and have vapor recovery systems, which are not required by regulation. So far two of the five barges have been replaced and the subsequent three barges will all be replaced by the second quarter of 2009.

Some of the green strategies implemented by Foss Maritime include:

  • Convert their entire fleet to burn only Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel at 15 ppm sulfur content. There is no regulatory requirement for us to do so in the Pacific Northwest. EPA mandates for ULSD do not come into effect for the maritime industry until 2012.

  • With the exception of four ocean going tugs, Foss vessels use shoreside vacuum trucks to discharge oily water from the bilges instead of using oily water separators which are traditionally used on vessels.

  • Use of ECOTIP fuel injectors for a decade for NOx reduction and were the test platform for the CBOI fuel injectors. They now use the CBOI injectors for approximately 50% NOx reduction.

  • Work with engine manufacturers to successfully convert six boats in 2007 from uncertified engines to certified Tier 1 engines. This was done on a voluntary basis with no regulatory requirement.

  • Foss is the first carrier partner accepted into the EPA SmartWay Transport program for its marine transportation operations.

  • Engage on the working committee on air pollution with the Port of Seattle.

  • Foss has a written and reinforced set of Core Values as a company. Their number one core value is the safety of their people but another important core values is to be good custodians of the environment and to be community minded.

First Hybrid Tugboat for San Pedro Harbor, 2008

Foss Maritime is building the world's first hybrid tugboat using a combination of batteries, generators and small main engines. This tugboat is currently under construction at the Foss shipyard and is scheduled for delivery to San Pedro Harbor in the summer of 2008.

A third party consultancy firm has calculated emissions reductions of 44% NOx and 44% PMs. There will also be a fuel savings of at least 30%.

Over the past decade Foss Maritimes has received various funding grants from the Carl Moyer program in California. In 2007 they received $1.35 million in grant funds from the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in support of the Hybrid Tug Project. They received grants of $1.35 million, but this does not cover the incremental cost of approximately $2.5 million so the remainder of the incremental cost will be borne by Foss.

Foss is building the hybrid tug at their own shipyard in Rainier, Oregon. Even thought this effort means a considerable amount of extra work and complexity for the yard, the employees will benefit from this cutting edge innovation and the skills that come with implementing the project.

This is the world's first hybrid tugboat and represents a significant technological advance for the industry. All of the different departments in the company will have made a contribution to its success.

Coping with New Regulations for Harborcraft

The maritime industry is one of the last industries to feel intense environmental regulatory scrutiny. Foss expects the regulatory environment to grow increasingly more challenging.

The regulatory environment is continually changing in all areas including air emissions, ballast water and pollution prevention.

One of the challenges faced by Foss, which is a mid size company, is having the manpower to track, respond and engage in the regulatory processes.

One of the biggest impacts to business has been the adoption by the California Air Resources Board of new harborcraft (tugs, ferries, etc) regulations. These regulations call for an aggressive timetable for converting all harborcraft engines in California to the best available control technology engines. This will be a major economic impact for the harborcraft industry.

Foss was fully engaged in this regulatory process and as a result they were able to plan and develop a strategy for implementation of the coming regulations.

Climate Change

At this point climate change itself is not being factored into Foss Maritime's risk models. However, one active line of business Foss maintains is oil and gas field support in harsh environments such as the Artic. This specialty brings climate change awareness and skills to their design and planning teams.

Climate change and its impact on the regions where Foss operates is impact on customers and subsequently on their overall business success.

The Foss Corporate Story

Foss began in 1889 when Thea Foss, a Norwegian immigrant, bought a rowboat, painted in white and green and began renting it out. This business grew and her husband Andrew, a carpenter, began building new rowboats.

The company's tagline "Always Ready" stems from this early time when Thea Foss always had coffee ready for her customers. To this day the Foss tugboat colors are green and white and the tagline was modified in 2006 to "Always Ready...Always Safe" to more accurately reflect the company's core values.

A tugboat's colors are how the owner is identified; therefore, no two companies have the same colors. This is similar to a "house flag" for ocean going vessels. The one thing that has remained since Thea Foss first painted her rowboat is the green and white color scheme of their vessels. Corporate branding that identifies Foss with environmental leadership is fotuitous -- Foss is the "green and white" company. And corporate branding is very important in communications.

Read the complete story at the SOURCE:
Industry Week


Foss Maritime

Foss Maritime, Long Beach/Los Angeles, California

Pier D Berth D-35
Long Beach, CA 90801

Foss Maritime, San Francisco, California

1316 Canal Blvd
Richmond, CA 94804

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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