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DB Schenker Reveals Plans for Autonomous Coastal Container Feeder in Norway

Autonomous Coastal Container Feeder

DB Schenker plans to operate a zero-emission autonomous coastal container feeder for Ekornes ASA in Norway.

DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading logistics providers, has revealed plans to operate an innovative zero-emission coastal container feeder in Norway. The fully electric vessel has a unique design, making it the first of its kind in the world.

Having just signed a Prestudy agreement, DB Schenker and its cooperation partners – the furniture giant Ekornes and the vessel designer Naval Dynamics, along with KONGSBERG and Massterly – have taken the first steps in an ambitious joint project to replace the traditional feeder vessels utilized along the stretch of the Norwegian coastline around Ikornnes and Ålesund. The new autonomous and electric, short-sea container feeder leverages Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept that was developed in partnership with KONGSBERG and Massterly. 

The vessel will operate between Ekornes’ own port, Ikornnes, and the port of Ålesund, which serves the main ocean freight ports in Europe. The ship will complete the 43-km (23-NM) journey within three hours, at a speed of 7.7 knots. The vessel will be 50 meters long and will be able to carry 300 deadweight tons of cargo. It is designed from the keel up for autonomous and zero-emission operation. It will run without a crew but will be monitored and controlled by staff at Massterly’s Remote Operation Center (ROC), whose team members include certified navigators and naval engineers.

The planned two-way data communication solution between the vessel and the ROC is destined to be another game-changer in the ocean freight sector.

We are delighted to be further intensifying an already strong relationship with our customer Ekornes. This unique project marks another important step toward greener supply chains, and it also fits in perfectly with our overall sustainability agenda in ocean freight, where we are ambitiously taking the lead with our cooperation partners.

Knut Eriksmoen, CEO Norway, DB Schenker
autonomous vessel port

The benefits here will be numerous, and include zero emissions, faster and more efficient transport, and reduced traffic on roads. As they lead the way to climate neutrality, the parties’ common interest is to unveil this pioneering vessel in Norway and then take the next crucial steps forward by obtaining approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and possibly governmental incentives for the sustainability and technology aspects.

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