Introducing autonomous electric container feeder for direct pick-ups of our Stressless products 

DB Schenker has revealed its plans to run an innovative, zero-emission coastal container feeder between Ekornes’ own port and the Port of Ålesund in Norway. The fully electric vessel will be the first vessel of its kind in the world. 

DB Schenker and its cooperation partners, the furniture giant Ekornes and vessel designers Naval Dynamics, in addition to KONGSBERG and Wilhelmsen joint-owned company Massterly – have taken the first step in an ambitious collective aim to replace the traditional feeder vessels utilized along this stretch of the Norwegian coastline. 

“The foundation for change is a customer with a vision” 

Geir Håøy, CEO, KONGSBERG ASA 

The new autonomous and electric short-sea container feeder leverages the Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept developed in partnership with KONGSBERG and Massterly. 

“We’re 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 in Ikornnes means that our total carbon footprint will be reduced significantly. We will also gain better control over, and greater flexibility of, our own logistics”[Podział zawijania tekstu]Roger Lunde, CEO, Ekornes AS 

The vessel will operate between Ekornes’ own port, Ikornnes, to the port of Ålesund which serves the main ocean freight ports in Europe, completing the 43km (23NM) voyage within three hours, at a speed of 7.7 knots. The vessel is 50 meters long and can carry 300 deadweight tonnes of cargo and is designed from the keel up to accommodate the autonomous and zero-emission operation. The vessel aims to be operational by 2024 and will run uncrewed but supervised by Massterly’s Remote Operation Center (ROC), which is staffed with certified navigators and naval engineers. 

The planned two-way data communication solution between the vessel and the ROC is destined to be another game-changer in the sea freight sector.  

Knut Eriksmoen, CEO Norway, DB Schenker: “We are delighted to further reinforce an already strong relationship with our customer Ekornes. This unique project will mark another important step toward greener supply chains and pays into our overall sustainability agenda in ocean freight. We are ambitiously taking the lead here with our cooperation partners.” 

“We’re 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. Given our decades of expertise in creating and perfecting systems for ship operations in every context, we are in a unique position to carry out pioneering work in this project. KONGSBERG is currently involved in several fully electric and autonomous vessel operations, including Yara Birkeland and ASKO. We look forward to bringing on our know-how and experience in this new partnership with DB Schenker and Ekornes”

Geir Håøy, CEO, KONGSBERG ASA 

The benefits will be numerous, including zero emissions, faster and more efficient transport, and reduced traffic on roads. Leading the way to climate neutrality, the parties’ joint interest is to unveil this pioneering vessel in Norway and to take the next crucial steps forward by receiving approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority and possibly secure governmental incentives for the sustainability and technology aspects.