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A joystick and 20 computer screens; within a few years this could be the face of shipping. No more spending months on a vessel or truck, but checking multiple vessels at the same time from ashore.

Joystick and 20 Computer Screens

his might sound like a far fetched future, but it might be closer than T you think. The first vessel of its kind has already been developed in Norway. To be honest, this is as of now just a miniature version, but the ANRIKE VISSER

model leads the way for construction of the first autonomous vessel in the world. Yara Birkeland is the name of the ship and it’s not just autonomous; it also has zero emission made possible through its electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems. On 28 September 2017, the final design of Yara Birkeland was revealed and tested at SINTEF Ocean and now the building period starts. The vessel will be delivered and begin first tests in 2019. By 2020 the first fully autonomous operations are scheduled to be conducted in Norway, its route leading from Herøya to Larvik via Brevik. "To succeed with a project like this we rely on collaboration with leading maritime competence hubs and technology companies, like Kongsberg on autonomous technology, Marin Teknikk on ship design and SINTEF for testing of the model. It was a special moment when we were joined by our

partners in Trondheim today to witness the design and demonstration of a miniature Yara Birkeland for the first time,” says President and CEO of Yara, Mr Svein Tore Holsether. Once finished the vessel will enable a reduction of 40,000 round trips a year from Yara's Porsgrunn fertiliser plant in southern Norway to the ports of Brevik and Larvik, reducing local NOx and CO2 emissions produced by trucks according to Kongsberg. "Green shipping is an area where Norway can make a global difference for climate and the environment, and where the Norwegian maritime cluster can take new international positions,” says Mr Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg. “Loading and discharging will be done automatically using electric cranes and equipment. The ship will also be

ISSUE 3 2017

equipped with an automatic mooring system - berthing and unberthing will be done without human intervention, and will not require special implementations dock-side,” states Kongsberg. Mr Esben Tuman, Head of Communication at Yara adds: “Yara’s main contribution to the world is to deliver crop nutrition to increase food production. In Porsgrunn, Norway we ship about 100 containers with fertilizer every day by truck to regional shipping hubs in Larvik and Brevik. We continuously look for ways to reduce our own emissions by adopting new and innovative solutions in production and transportation, and last year we started looking into using maritime transport as an alternative to these truck journeys through densely populated areas. We are proud to be a pioneer in the race towards cleaner and more efficient commercial transportation which will help the world deliver on the climate goals as set forth in the Paris agreement.” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the executives state that the vessel will cost USD 25 million, about three times as much as a conventional container ship of its size, but its operational costs are expected to drop 90% with no fuel or crew. This applies to smaller ships though and shorter routes. For now, Mr Lars Jensen, chief executive of SeaIntelligence Consulting expects autonomous vessels to be mainly of interest for short trips close to shore. “It’s not a matter of technology, which is already there, but a business case.

Norway-Asia Business Review 2017-03  
Norway-Asia Business Review 2017-03