Are Autonomous Electric Ships the Future of Ocean Freight?

Are Autonomous Electric Ships the Future of Ocean Freight?

A company in Norway is testing out a new solution for making ocean freight transportation more eco-friendly and sustainable. While ocean transport is more environmentally friendly than other forms of transport, due to the large volumes that can be moved on one ship, it still has a large impact on the environment. One large ship produces as much Sulphur as 50 million cars, and over 90 percent of global trade travels by sea.

Yara International, a Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer, has commissioned the world’s first autonomous electric ship, called the Yara Birkeland. The electric ship, which appears to be a discovery model, should eventually be able to replace around 40,000 truck journeys each year. 

The ship is 70 meters long and 14 meters wide, with a capacity for 120 containers. With no people aboard, more space is dedicated to cargo. Current battery technology is not able to power the ship for long trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific distances, so until the technology catches up, the Yara Birkeland will only travel shorter routes. 

The ship will be delivered to Yara International in 2020 and the company plans for it to be fully operational by 2022, which could begin a new wave in ocean freight.  

Source: Inbound Logistics