Cargotec subsidiary MacGregor has agreed to develop and test an autonomous discharging feature on its bulk handling cranes, in partnership with ESL Shipping.
The cranes are designed to offer safety and efficiency benefits, and will be fitted on ESL Shipping's two new liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered handysize bulk carriers.
MacGregor Cargo Handling senior vice-president Leif Byström said: “Autonomous crane operation improves efficiency and safety.
“Discharging operations can be monitored and controlled from the bridge and therefore eliminate the need for personnel in hazardous operational areas.”
The new vessels are expected to enter service from the second quarter of the next year, when automation testing is also due to start.
ESL Shipping managing director Mikki Koskinen said: “Our new environmental friendly LNG-fuelled ships will be operated in very demanding trade with high number of voyages, port calls and crane operation hours annually.
“Autonomous operation will further increase our competitiveness and offer our clients unforeseen efficiency and safety.”
Byström noted that ESL Shipping's expertise combined with their competence in intelligent cargo handling will help to reduce unnecessary waste in the value chain, while enabling safer and effective solutions for unloading bulk cargoes.
MacGregor caters to the offshore and marine industries and offers engineering solutions and services.
The company also recently announced plans to construct an advanced fibre-rope crane, which will have a 150t safe working-load capacity.
The crane is expected to be ready for testing by the first quarter of next year.
Image: Bulk Carrier. Photo: © Cargotec.