Canadian Shipper


Norwegian firm to build world’s first autonomous and zero emissions ship

Oslo, Norway — Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer Yara International is planning to build a small, battery-powered containership with capacity for between 100 TEUs and 120 TEUs to move containers from fertilizer its factory to the nearby ocean ports of Brevik and Larvik.

The vessel “Yara Birkeland” will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions.

The vessel, named after Yara’s founder, Kristian Birkeland, will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder. Yara’s new vessel will reduce NOx and CO2emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas.

Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship.

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.

“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,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

“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,” said Holsether.

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,” said 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 competence and technologies developed across Kongsberg.

“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,” said Håøy.


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