Vard has secured a contract worth approximately Nkr250m ($29m) from Yara to build an autonomous electric container vessel named Yara Birkeland.
Yara Birkeland is slated to be built under a collaboration that was initially formed between Yara and technology company Kongsberg in May 2017.
The completed container vessel is expected to be delivered from Vard’s Brevik yard in Norway by 2020.
Vard’s Braila-based facility in Romania will build the hull of the vessel.
Yara Birkeland will feature numerous technologies supplied by Kongsberg, including the sensors and integration systems necessary to facilitate remote and autonomous operations.
The 120 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessel will be deployed to transport cargo between Yara’s fertiliser plant in Porsgrunn to the Brevik and Larvik ports in Norway.
The 80m-long, 15m-wide container ship is anticipated to gradually shift from manned operations to fully autonomous operations by 2022.
It is expected to take around 40,000 truck journeys off the road annually, along with lowering nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improving road safety in crowded urban areas.
The vessel was designed by Marin Teknikk in collaboration with YARA and other involved partners.
Yara president and CEO Svein Tore Holsether said: “A vessel like Yara Birkeland has never been built before, and we rely on teaming up with partners with an entrepreneurial mindset and cutting-edge expertise.
“Vard combines experience in customised shipbuilding with leading innovation and will deliver a game-changing vessel, which will help us lower our emissions and contribute to feeding the world, while protecting the planet.”
Yara has received Nkr133.6m ($16m) from the Government of Norway’s ENOVA enterprise in support of Yara Birkeland’s development.