The logistics service provider DB Schenker has revealed plans to operate an innovative zero-emission autonomous coastal container feeder for Ekornes ASA in Norway. The fully electric vessel has a unique design, making it the first of its kind in the world.
This innovation is fueled by a strong partner network: DB Schenker, the furniture giant Ekornes, the vessel designer Naval Dynamics, KONGSBERG and Massterly. The feeder leverages Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept that was developed in partnership with KONGSBERG and Massterly.
The new short-sea container feeder is fully autonomous and electric, making the solution more sustainable and cost-efficient. 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.”
“We’re continuously working toward our goal of becoming the world’s leading manufacturer of sustainable premium furniture. With this landmark project, we will meet our sustainability targets by using the most innovative technology available. Utilizing the autonomous electric container feeder for direct pickups of our Stressless products from our own dock in Ikornnes means that our total carbon footprint will be reduced significantly. We will also gain better control over, and greater flexibility with, our own logistics.”
The benefits here will be numerous, and include zero emissions, faster and more efficient transport, and reduced traffic on roads. 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.
Published: May 2022