Autonomous Electric Container Ship Will Haul Fertilizer Products by Sea in Norway
The world’s first autonomous and electric container vessel is one step closer to launch, as YARA signs a deal with VARD worth approximately NOK 250 million to build the vessel. VARD will deliver the Yara Birkeland vessel for launch in early 2020, and the vessel will gradually move from manned operation to fully autonomous operation by 2022.
In May 2017, YARA and technology company KONGSBERG announced a partnership to build the ship. Replacing 40,000 truck journeys a year, Yara Birkeland will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety in a densely populated urban area. Now the shipyard has been selected, and construction will begin.
KONGSBERG is a key partner in the project, responsible for the enabling technologies including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations. The project was initiated in an effort to improve the logistics at Yara’s Porsgrunn fertilizer plant. Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from the plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik, where the company ships products to customers around the world. With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel, YARA moves transport from road to sea.