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  May 10th, 2017 | Written by

WATCH: First Autonomous and Zero-Emissions Containership

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  • YARA and KONGSBERG enter into partnership to build all-electric and autonomous containership.


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

The project is a joint venture between YARA, a Norwegian fertilizer company, and Kongsberg, a maritime technology company. Kongsberg will be supplying the enabling technologies on YARA Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations and the electric drive, battery, and propulsion control systems.

The vessel will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder, carrying shipments from YARA’s plant to ports for worldwide distribution. 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 beginning in 2020. Currently, it takes over 100 diesel truck journeys daily to transport products from YARA’s plant to the Brevik and Larvik ports.

“With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of YARA, “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.”