Cochin Shipyard is building two 573-dwt roro vessels for grocery distributor ASKO with delivery expected in Q1 2022.
These autonomous ships will be built to Naval Dynamics’ design, DNV GL class and to Norwegian Maritime Authorities (NMA) safety requirements.
They will transport goods across the Oslo fjord, replacing 2M km of truck transport, saving 5,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. ASKO currently transports its cargo from warehouses on the western side of the Oslo fjord with its distribution centre on the eastern side on more than 800 trucks daily.
It is now investing heavily in new technologies such as electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles and vessels.
“We have a clear ambition to be climate neutral and have set ambitious goals, including being a self-sufficient provider of clean energy and having 100% emissions-free transport by 2026,” said ASKO maritime director Kai Just Olsen.
ASKO ordered the all-electric ships from Cochin and signed contracts with Kongsberg Maritime and Massterly (a joint venture between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen) for autonomous technology and vessel management.
“These innovative ships are key to fulfilling our ambition and will form an essential component of a zero-emissions logistics chain linking our facilities,” said Mr Olsen. “Fully electric trucks will take the cargo between the warehouses and the ports of Moss and Horten,” he explained.
“In shipments of 16 trailers, cargo will be transported across the fjord on the battery-driven vessels. This solution is cost effective, sustainable and will remove trucks from heavily trafficked roads,” Mr Olsen added.
This project, along with required port infrastructure, is backed by Nkr119M (US$13.5M) of funding from Enova, a Norwegian government-backed enterprise.
The two roro vessels will be equipped with the technology required for zero-emissions and unmanned operations by Kongsberg Maritime.
Massterly will be responsible for ship management and safe operations from its shore-based remote operations centre. The 66-m long vessels will initially operate with a reduced crew, before moving towards unmanned voyages.
“The ASKO contract illustrates how Massterly is key in making autonomy a reality for shortsea shipping,” said Wilhelmsen Group chief executive Thomas Wilhelmsen.
“We are the world’s first ship management company to operate unmanned vessels for commercial use,” he said.
“Now we are one step closer to our goal of enabling sustainable trade: through cost effective, safe, and environmentally friendly logistics,” Mr Wilhelmsen added.
Kongsberg Maritime president Egil Haugsdal said this project would help ASKO achieve its sustainability goal.
“When we teamed up with Wilhelmsen to form Massterly, this was exactly the kind of project we wanted to enable,” said Mr Haugsdal.
“By working together with us to bring autonomous, electric solutions into everyday use, ASKO are helping to achieve a sustainable, safer future for maritime operations while also demonstrating the efficiencies these technologies can deliver.”
These 15-m wide vessels will have a design draught of 1.7 m and 1,800 kWh of battery capacity, enough for four hours of sailing fully loaded at eight knots.