DB Schenker, Ekornes, Naval Dynamics, Kongsberg Maritime, and Massterly have partnered to develop a next-gen waterborne transport solution for the Ikornnes-Ålesund route in Norway.
Following the prestudy agreement, the parties will work on deploying a 49.9 by 9.6 m, 18 FEUs capacity container carrier on the 23 nautical mile-long stretch that handles Ekornes' cargo flows.
Based on the Naval Dynamics' NDS AutoBarge 250 concept developed in partnership with Kongsberg and Massterly, the vessel will run un-crewed but supervised by Massterly's Remote Operation Center (ROC) staffed with certified navigators and naval engineers.
The project partners will now seek approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority. They also hope to secure support from the country's government for the feeder's sustainability and technology aspects.
"We are continuously working towards our goal of becoming the leading global sustainable manufacturer of premium furniture. With this landmark project, we will meet our sustainability targets by using the most innovative technology available. Using the autonomous electric container feeder for direct pick-ups of our Stressless products from our own quay at Ikornnes means that our total carbon footprint will be reduced significantly. We will also gain better control over, and a greater flexibility of, our own logistics," Roger Lunde, Ekornes' CEO, commented.
Geir Håøy, CEO of Kongsberg, added, "We are beginning to see a general shift away from the road transportation of goods, with its considerable carbon footprint, and towards clean, energy-efficient, short-sea freight transportation."
Tom Eystø, Managing Director, Massterly, also said, "We find it significant that one of the world's largest logistics providers, DB Schenker, is seeing the benefits of un-crewed, zero-emission shipping and we hope this project will inspire a larger volume of similar vessels."