Yara autonomous vessel will be built by Vard

Vard is to build the 'Yara Birkeland' Photo: Kongsberg Vard is to build the 'Yara Birkeland' Photo: Kongsberg

The world’s first autonomous and electric container vessel has moved one step closer to launch with the signing of a NOK 250 million vessel build deal with Vard.

Vard will deliver Yara Birkeland for launch in early 2020 and the vessel will gradually move from manned operation to fully autonomous operation by 2022.

“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,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

“Vard combines experience in customised 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,”.

Reducing emissions

In May 2017, Yara and technology company Kongsberg announced a partnership to build the world's first autonomous, electric container vessel.

The project was initiated in an effort to improve the logistics at Yara’s Porsgrunn fertilizer plant. Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where the company ships products to customers around the world.

The plan is for it to eventually replace 40,000 truck journeys a year reducing NOx and CO2 emissions and improving road safety in a densely populated urban area.

Yara Birkeland is scheduled to be delivered from Vard Brevik in Norway in the first quarter of 2020. The hull will be delivered from Vard Braila in Romania.

The project has received NOK 133.6 million in support from the Norwegian government enterprise ENOVA.

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