Global fertiliser company Yara and technology group Kongsberg are partnering to build the first autonomous, electric container feeder ship. In this collaboration, the latter company will develop the technologies on the vessel, including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations; as well as the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.
The vessel is named after the company’s founder, Kristian Birkeland. Container feeder ships collect shipping containers from different ports and transport them to central container terminals, at which they are loaded onto larger container ships or onto rail.
“With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel, we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions," said Svein Tore Holsether, president and chief executive officer of Yara.
The vessel will aid in reducing nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas. It will start by shipping products from Yara’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway.
Geir Håøy, president and chief executive officer at Kongsberg, said this new concept of autonomous vessels is a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation.
The vessel will start its initial operation driven by humans and will move to remote operation in 2019; and it is expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020. The zero-emission vessel is pivotal for global maritime transport to meet UN’s sustainability goals.
APMEN News, May 2017