In 2017, fertilizer producer Yara announced a partnership with Kongsberg Maritime to build a fully autonomous, battery-electric container ship. Now Yara has made an agreement with cargo handling firm Kalmar, which will deliver equipment, software and services for a fully autonomous container handling solution at Yara’s Porsgrunn facility in Norway.
All operations related to the Yara Birkeland container vessel will be fully autonomous, with zero emissions. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2020.
The Yara Birkeland will transport fertilizer from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles. Yara says the high-tech ship will eliminate up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in a densely populated area of Norway.
Kalmar will provide an autonomous loading and unloading solution, as well as transportation between the fertilizer production facilities and the quay. The Kalmar solution consists of one Automated Rail Mounted Gantry Crane, three FastCharge AutoStrads, a FastCharge charging station and related automation and safety systems. Kalmar will also support Yara’s operations with a service contract.
“With this agreement, Yara Birkeland is not just the world’s first electric and autonomous container vessel; it is the world’s first fully digitalized and electric supply chain, with all operations, including loading, unloading and sailing conducted in a fully autonomous manner with zero emissions,” said Tove Andersen, EVP Production, Yara.
“This project involves several firsts for us, including the first fully automated RMG for vessel loading, unloading and container storage management. Furthermore, the Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads will drive along the public roads in the Porsgrunn industrial park, which is also used by normal road traffic. We are working closely with local authorities to ensure the safety of passengers and vehicles at all times,” said Tero Kokko, Senior VP, Automation and Projects, Kalmar.