Yara and Kongsberg partner to build world’s first autonomous electric container feeder ship; moving goods from roads to ships
Global fertilizer company Yara and technology group Kongsberg are parterning to build the first autonomous, electric container feeder ship. 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.
Named YARA Birkeland after Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland, the vesselwill will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by some 40,000 journeys a year, the partners estimate. Operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from YARA’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. 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.
As a leading global fertilizer 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 realize the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation.
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.
Kongsberg is responsible for development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on YARA Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.
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.
Developing systems for autonomous operations is a major opening and natural step for Kongsberg, considering our decades of expertise in the development and integration of advanced sensors, control and communication systems for all areas of ship operations. YARA Birkeland will set the benchmark for the application of innovative maritime technology for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.—Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG
As a leading global maritime technology company, Kongsberg’s integrated control and monitoring systems are already capable of providing technology for remote and unmanned operations. YARA Birkeland will benefit from the competence and technologies developed across Kongsberg.