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It replaces 40,000 truck journeys: Norway is working on an electric cargo ship


A Norwegian company orders a ship to be able to transport goods emission-free. The "Yara Birkeland" is scheduled to start operating in 2021.

A Norwegian company orders a ship to be able to transport goods emission-free.

The "Yara Birkeland" is scheduled to start operating in 2021.

Oslo - Autonomous, emission-free, completely electric: It should combine these properties, the container ship of the future.

What sounds like high standards was the basis of the cooperation between the Norwegian companies Yara and Kongsberg.

In 2017, the chemical manufacturer and the defense company set out to build the world's first autonomous and emission-free freighter, the “Yara Birkeland”.

The electrically powered container ship will replace 40,000 truck journeys a year, thereby reducing emissions in Norway and making roads safer, says Yara, describing the project.

“Every day it takes more than 100 diesel truck trips to bring products from Yara's location in Prosgrunn to ports in Brevik and Larvik, where we ship our products to customers around the world.

With this new, autonomous, battery-operated container ship, we are moving the transport from the road to the sea, thereby reducing noise and dust emissions, improving safety on local roads and reducing nitrogen and CO2 emissions, ”said Yara boss Svein Tore Holsether.


The Norwegian company Yara is working on an autonomously driving e-freighter, the “Yara Birkeland”.

© Yara

The autonomous container ship “Yara Birkeland” holds 120 containers


Yara Birkeland


80 meters


15 meters

Load capacity

3200 tons


120 20-foot standard containers


6.3 meters when fully loaded

Battery power

7 MWh

Combined engine power

3,200 kW / 4,350 PS

maximum speed

13 knots (24 km / h)

Autonomous container ship "Yara Birkeland" is to start operations

After the ship was commissioned in 2017, the hull was manufactured in Romania and brought to Norway in 2020.

There the ship was equipped with various control and navigation systems.

According to a report by, the ship is currently still in the Norwegian port of Horten.

Further preparations for autonomous driving will be made on site before it goes into operation at the end of 2021, as the portal reports.

The ship, whose battery capacity corresponds to that of 100 Tesla Model S, made its maiden voyage from Brevik to Horten in December 2020.

In the port of the Herøya peninsula, where Yara operates a plant, loading cranes are currently being erected, as the portal Hellenic Shipping News writes.

The work should be completed in autumn 2021, when the ship can be loaded with up to 120 containers.

It should take over 40 to 60 percent of Yara's freight volume, reports the portal.

Initially, a crew should be on board during the voyages.

However, the aim is to switch to fully autonomous driving within two years, reports

In contrast to cars advertised with autonomous driving, such as Tesla *, in which drivers are nevertheless instructed to keep their hands on the steering wheel, the ship is to be monitored and remotely controlled by command centers.

It should also be possible to dock and put down without human help.


* is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

List of rubric lists: © Yara

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-06-22

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