World’s first autonomous all-electric container ship to set sail in 2018

Norwegian company Yara has teamed up with maritime technology company Kongsberg to build the world’s first all-electric and autonomous container ship. The vessel “Yara Birkeland” is planned to hit the seas in the latter half of 2018.

Image credit: YARA

Named “Yara Birkeland” after Yara‘s founder, the famous scientist and innovator Kristian Birkeland, the vessel will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder. Yara’s new vessel will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas.

Yara Birkeland will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020. The new zero-emission vessel will be a game-changer for global maritime transport contributing to meet the UN sustainability goals.

World’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel for commercial operation

“As a leading global fertiliser company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well. We are proud to work with Kongsberg to realise the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

“Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. 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 NOx and CO2 emissions,” says Holsether.

A giant step forward for seaborne transportation

“By moving container transport from land to sea, Yara Birkeland is the start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and international environmental impact goals. The new concept is also a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation in general,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg.

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