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    Milestone for realization of the autonomous and electric container ships of the future

    DB Schenker and Kongsberg Maritime recently carried out a full-scale simulation of the ship in authentic surroundings between the port of Ikornes and the port of Ålesund. This is part of a feasibility study in the agreement between Kongsberg Maritime, Ekornes, Massterly and DB Schenker. An important milestone in the project to replace traditional feeder vessels with modern autonomous ships without emissions.

    The vessel will sail between Ekornes' own harbour, at Ikornnes, to the port of Ålesund, which in turn serves the most important ports in Europe. The 43 km (23 nautical miles)  freight route is completed in three hours, at a speed of 7.7 knots. The vessel is 50 metres long, can carry a load of 300 deadweight tonnes and is designed from keel up to be best suited for the purpose of autonomous operation and zero emissions. The goal is for the vessel to sail without a crew, but be supervised by Massterly's Remote Operation Center (ROC), which is manned by certified navigators and naval engineers.

    The demonstration recently took place at Kongsberg Maritime Training Center at Grilstad outside Trondheim. Here they have prepared and tested sailing with the ship under different weather conditions, and different routes to collect data on energy consumption, speed, time use and navigation challenges.

    The primary route for this sailing is through Vegsundet which provides a challenging navigation and at low speed, but overall energy-saving and advantageous.

    It is a prerequisite that this ship should be unmanned and, accordingly, there will be no bridge on the ship. So far, the new ships, which are fully electric and planned to be unmanned, have not been able to do this. This ship will not have people on board and it provides space for cargo and technology where there are otherwise facilities intended for crew. This will be the first of its kind in the world.

    The demonstration at Kongsberg Maritime was a milestone in this project. Also present were representatives of the Naval Directorate in Norway and Naval Dynamics who designed the ship. A large and demanding work  has been done so far. This is pioneering work and  demonstrates Norway's expertise and innovative power. The work now continues with further design of ships and systems, as well as the process with the authorities regarding certification and regulations that must be in place for this type of ship.

    DB Schenker and Ekornes have for several years worked closely together to establish environmentally friendly transport solutions as part of the logistics associated with the production and transport of Ekornes' products worldwide. In 2017, we transferred all land transport in Europe to sea freight. This resulted in a significant reduction in the number of trucks on the roads and not least for the local community in Sykkylven. In January 2023, DB Schenker started a fixed route for biogas for Ekornes between Sykkylven and Oslo.

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