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Build & Sustainability

PD Ports ‘commits to future success of Tees’ with £23 million dredger move

A dock operator says it has “confirmed its commitment to the economic success and environmental sustainability of the River Tees” after a £23 million dredger investment.

PD Ports has bought the Emerald Duchess.

Bosses say the move bolsters the firm’s ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2027 and the UK’s most sustainable port operator.

The 71-metre craft – which can hold up to 2000 cubic metres of seabed material – is due to arrive at PD Ports’ Teesport hub next summer.

It will replace the Cleveland County, which has carried out more than 50 years’ service.

Using an intelligent power management system, officials say the Emerald Duchess – named following a competition among PD Ports staff – can swap between drive from a battery pack equivalent to ten Tesla cars and fuel made from hydrotreated vegetable oil, also known as renewable diesel.


  • A section of the Emerald Duchess under construction


It also has hatches above its engine room for power units to be swapped for modern fuel cells, while its hull has been modelled to minimise fuel consumption while moving through the water.

Frans Calje, PD Ports’ chief executive, said: “The Emerald Duchess represents a major investment in our conservancy operations and shows our high level of commitment to the socio-economic development of the River Tees and the wider region.

“The vessel is a step ahead in terms of crew safety and sustainability, and will strongly support our commitment to becoming a carbon neutral operation.”

The craft is being built by the Netherlands’ Neptune Marine, with trials scheduled for next year.

Benjamin Grefkens, Neptune Marine director, added: “We are proud PD Ports entrusted us with providing them with the tools for their dredging activities.”

As statutory harbour authority, PD Ports has power to dredge to legally agreed levels to allow commercial operations along the River Tees and at Hartlepool.