DB Schenker plans to operate a zero-emission autonomous coastal container feeder for Ekornes ASA in Norway

DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo have launched a regular CO2-neutral freight connection from Europe to China.

DB Schenker has revealed plans to operate a zero-emission coastal container feeder in Norway. According to the company, the fully electric vessel has a unique design, making it the first of its kind in the world.

Having just signed a Prestudy agreement, DB Schenker and its cooperation partners –furniture company Ekornes and the vessel designer Naval Dynamics, along with KONGSBERG and Massterly – have taken the first steps in a joint project to replace the traditional feeder vessels utilised along the stretch of the Norwegian coastline around Ikornnes and Ålesund. The new autonomous and electric, short-sea container feeder leverages the Naval Dynamics NDS AutoBarge 250 concept that was developed in partnership with KONGSBERG and Massterly.

The vessel will operate between the Ekornes port, Ikornnes, and the port of Ålesund, which serves the main ocean freight ports in Europe. The ship will complete the 43km journey within three hours, at a speed of 7.7 knots. The vessel will be 50m long and will be able to carry 300 deadweight tons of cargo. It is designed from the keel up for autonomous and zero-emission operation. It will run without a crew but will be monitored and controlled by staff at the Massterly Remote Operation Center (ROC), with team members which include certified navigators and naval engineers.

According to DB Schenker, the benefits will be numerous, and include zero emissions, faster and more efficient transport, and reduced traffic on roads. The companies have a common interest to unveil this pioneering vessel in Norway and then take the next crucial steps forward by obtaining approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and possibly governmental incentives for the sustainability and technology aspects.

Roger Lunde, CEO, Ekornes AS: “We’re continuously working toward our goal of becoming the world’s leading manufacturer of sustainable premium furniture. With this landmark project, we will meet our sustainability targets by using the most innovative technology available. Utilizing the autonomous electric container feeder for direct pickups of our Stressless products from our own dock in Ikornnes means that our total carbon footprint will be reduced significantly. We will also gain better control over, and greater flexibility with, our own logistics.”

Source: DB Schenker