Norwegian shipyard Vard has been selected to build Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous and electric-driven container vessel.
The ship was commissioned and designed for the purpose of streamlining logistics and reducing pollution at chemical company Yara’s fertilizer plant in Porsgrunn, Norway. Every day, over 100 diesel truck journeys are used to transport crop nutrition products from the plant to the ports of Brevik and Larvik.
Boasting a cargo capacity of 120 TEU, Yara Birkeland will replace 40,000 truck journeys each year once it is completed by Vard in 2020. The vessel will gradually move from manned to fully-autonomous operation by 2022, with its sensors and navigation equipment provided by Kongsberg Maritime.
“A vessel like Yara Birkeland has never been built before, and we rely on teaming up with partners with an entrepreneurial mindset and cutting edge expertise,” says Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara. “Vard combines experience in customized ship building with leading innovation, and will deliver a game-changing vessel which will help us lower our emissions, and contribute to feeding the world while protecting the planet.”
The shipbuilding contract with Vard is worth close to $30m. The vessel’s hull will be constructed at the company’s yard in Braila, Romania before being completed in Brevik, Norway by the end of Q1 2020.