India’s Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) signed a contract for construction of two autonomous electric ferries with Norwegian customer ASKO Maritime, subsidiary group of retailing company Norges Gruppen ASA.
The order includes an option to build two more repeat vessels. Cochin said it won the export order after evaluation of offers from other global shipyards. The 67m-long vessels will be delivered with fully electric propulsion powered by 1,846-kWh-capacity batteries. The ships are part of a project, partially funded by the Norwegian government, aimed at providing emission-free freight transport across the Oslo fjord.
After commissioning of autonomous equipment and field trials in Norway, they will operate as a fully autonomous ferry to transport 16 loaded standard EU truck trailers each sailing across the fjord. The vessels will be managed by Massterly AS, a joint venture between Norwegian engineering group Kongsberg which is expanding in autonomous technology, and shipping company Wilhelmsen.
The 67m-long new buildings are designed by Naval Dynamics Norway, vessel type AutoBarge, along with Kongsberg Maritime system. Detailed engineering will be carried out by Cochin Shipyard. They will be built under DNV GL classification and flagged in Norway.
"This project is expected to catapult Cochin Shipyard into the league of premier shipbuilding yards in the world capable of handling high tech vessel construction," said the yard. Congratulating Cochin Shipyard, Indian Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the winning of the order by an Indian yard was a historic milestone in India’s shipbuilding industry. Cochin is already constructing 23 hybrid electric river ferries for Indian transport authority Kochi Water Metro.