The long-awaited maiden voyage of the world’s first electric container ship, Yara Birkeland, was completed last week after the vessel crossed the Oslo Fjord and arrived in the Norwegian capital.
The vessel, built by Norwegian shipyard Vard, is the result of a joint venture between the Kongsberg Group, which has developed autonomous technology for the ship, and Maasterly, which will operate and monitor the vessel from a control centre in Horten. Maasterly is a joint venture between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen.
Yara Birkeland is expected to begin commercial operation in 2022, shipping mineral fertiliser between Porsgrunn and Brevik. According to Svein Tore Holsether, Yara CEO, the ship will replace 40,000 truck journeys and save one thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The ship’s maiden voyage coincides with a drive by Yara to promote green ammonia as an emission-free fuel for global shipping through the newly established Yara Clean Ammonia. The main company, which claims to be the world’s largest producer of fertilisers, relies heavily on ammonia in its production processes.
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, CEO of the new setup, commented: “Renewable energy was our starting point in 1905. 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.”
Yara Birkeland completes maiden voyage