Tuesday, April 3, 2018

World's First Autonomous Shipping Company Established by Norwegian Groups

Supply Chain Initiative to Control from Design to Logistics and Ship Operations
Shipping News Feature
NORWAY – Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg say the two established maritime group's are joining forces to take the next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete supply chain for autonomous vessels, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations, by establishing what they say is the world’s first autonomous shipping company, named Massterly. Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO, said:

"As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships. Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations. Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need.”

The plan is to establish land-based control centres to monitor and operate autonomous ships both in Norway and internationally. With a combined 360 years of experience, it is claimed Massterly will benefit from Kongsberg’s technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen's experience in logistics and ship management operations. The partners say Norway’s position as a key maritime nation also creates opportunities in the development of next-generation maritime personnel. Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg, commented:

“Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities. In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations."

A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of the development of the Yara Birkeland in May 2017. It will be the world's first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara's Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly is intended to deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as the Yara Birkeland. Wilhelmsen continued:

"Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future. At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships. This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions. For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals."