VIDEO: Zero-emission, zero-crew box ship makes first trip

Written by Nick Blenkey
VIPs greet xero emission nbox ship

Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, met Yara Birkeland on its arrival in Oslo with Bjørnar Skjæran, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Svein Tore Holsether, CEO Yara, and Geir Håøy, CEO Kongsberg Gruppen

The world’s first all-electric autonomous containership, Yara Birkeland has completed its maiden voyage in the Oslo Fjord. The 120 TEU vessel will be used by Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara to transport mineral fertilizer between Porsgrunn and Brevik, eliminating 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and replacing 40,000 trips by diesel-powered trucks a year.

The ship is the result of a collaborative project with Kongsberg is being responsible for the development and delivery of all its newly developed technology on the ship. It will be operated from Maasterlys’ monitoring and operation’s center in Horten. Massterly is a joint venture between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen. The ship was built by Fincantieri’s Norwegian subsidy Vard, with support from Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of renewable energy.

Yara Birkeland will now begin a two-year testing period of the technology that will finally see it certified as an autonomous, all-electric containership.


In parallel with the construction of Yara Birkeland, Yara has initiated the development of green ammonia as an emission-free fuel for shipping, through the newly started Yara Clean Ammonia.

“Renewable energy was our starting point in 1905,” said Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, CEO of Yara Clean Ammonia. “Now, ammonia can bring us back to our roots. Our large shipping network and existing infrastructure means that ammonia has the potential to become the leading fuel for long-distance shipping globally.”

As the world’s largest producer of fertilizers, Yara relies on ammonia for manufacture, and to help feed an ever-growing population. At the same time, current ammonia production represents 2% of the world’s fossil energy consumption. This corresponds to about 1.2% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

“As the world’s largest producer of ammonia, Yara has launched an aggressive plan of international scale, both to remove current emissions and to establish the production of new, clean ammonia,” said Ankarstrand.

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