Global logistics provider DB Schenker is to run a zero-emission coastal container feeder between Ikornnes quay and the Port of Ålesund in Norway. The vessel will feature a fully electric propulsion system.
A pre-study agreement has been signed between DB Schenker and partners of the project which include furniture company Ekornes, vessel designer Naval Dynamics, Kongsberg and Massterly. Through the project the group aims to replace traditional feeder vessels which are currently used along the section of the Norwegian coastline. With plans to be fully autonomous, the electric short-sea container feeder will utilize Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept, which was developed with Kongsberg and Massterly.
The ship will serve a route between Ekornes’ port at Ikornnes and Ålesund and is expected to complete the 43km journey in three hours at a speed of 7.7kts. At 50m-long, the vessel will have the capacity to carry 300DWT of cargo and aims to run uncrewed while being supervised by Massterly’s Remote Operation Center (ROC), staffed with certified navigators and naval engineers.
“This unique project will mark another important step towards greener supply chains and pays into our overall sustainability agenda in ocean freight,” said Knut Eriksmoen, CEO Norway, DB Schenker. “We are ambitiously taking the lead here with our cooperation partners.”
“We’re beginning to see a general shift away from the road transportation of goods, with its considerable carbon footprint, and towards clean, energy-efficient, short-sea freight transportation,” explained Geir Håøy, CEO, Kongsberg.
“We are very pleased to be working with Ekornes and DB Schenker in creating a smart logistics solution from the Ekornes production site to the market,” commented Tom Eystø, managing director, Massterly. “The small, fully electric, and energy-efficient cargo vessel will be designed for uncrewed operations. Massterly will operate the vessel from our Remote Operation Center. We find it significant that one of the world’s largest logistics providers, DB Schenker, is seeing the benefits of uncrewed, zero emissions shipping, and we hope this project will inspire a larger volume of similar vessels.”
“The AutoBarge 250 Coast Feeder is designed from keel up for efficient and zero-emission autonomous operations,” added Øystein Jaer, CEO, Naval Dynamics AS.
In the future, the parties involved hope to receive approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority in addition to possibly securing governmental incentives for the sustainability and technology aspects of the vessel.