DB Schenker has announced plans to run a zero-emission, fully electric autonomous coastal container feeder between Ikornnes quay and the Port of Ålesund in Norway, though a development project with furniture company Ekornes and vessel designers Naval Dynamics.
The new partners have signed a prestudy agreement, which will see the firms work with Kongsberg and Massterly to introduce an autonomous short-sea container feeder based on Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept.
The vessel will operate between Ekornes’ own port, at Ikornnes, and the port of Ålesund, and is expected to be able to complete the 43km (23NM) voyage within three hours, at a speed of 7.7 knots.
At 50m in length, the vessel will be able to carry 300 deadweight tonnes of cargo and aims to run un-crewed but supervised from Massterly’s Remote Operation Center (ROC), which is staffed with navigators and naval engineers.
“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,” said 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.”