Autonomous Yara Birkeland Ship Project Chooses Kalmar


The world's first autonomous and electric container vessel, Yara Birkeland, will use a fully digitalized container handling system from Kalmar to complete the Kongsberg project.

Kalmar has announced that it will deliver the fully autonomous equipment, software and services for to Yara's Porsgrunn facility in Norway during the second quarter of 2020.

Tove Andersen, EVP Production, Yara, said: “With this agreement, Yara Birkeland is not just the world's first electric and autonomous container vessel; it is the world's first fully digitalised and electric supply chain, with all operations, including loading, unloading and sailing conducted in a fully autonomous manner with zero emissions.

“Kalmar has the proven equipment and software, and the know-how to integrate their solutions into our supply chain.”

Yara, a world-leading mineral fertilizer company that helps feed more than 300 million people worldwide, last year announced a partnership with technology company Kongsberg to build the world's first fully autonomous, battery operated container vessel.

See Kalmar's range of container handling solutions in the PTI Supplier Directory



Yara Birkeland will reduce emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in a densely populated area of Norway.

The vessel will transport fertilizer from Yara's Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles.

Kalmar will provide the autonomous loading and unloading solution for Yara Birkeland, as well as transportation between the fertilizer production facilities and the quay.

The Kalmar solution consists of one Kalmar Automated Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (AutoRMG), three Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads, a FastCharge charging station and related automation and safety systems.


A recent video by Kalmar has revealed how it will evolve its entire range of machines into highly advanced electric versions by 2021:


Kalmar will implement the system in phases, with the level of automation gradually increased over time.

The result will be a fully autonomous, mixed-traffic and zero-emission solution in an industrial environment. 

Kalmar will also support Yara's operations with a full-scale service contract.

The Kalmar Care contract includes full maintenance with parts for Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads including an availability agreement as well as preventive maintenance for the Kalmar AutoRMG crane.

Read Kalmar's latest Port Technology technical paper on how to automate an existing RTG terminal



Furthermore, Kalmar personnel will provide operational, automation and software support for the whole solution.

Tero Kokko, Senior Vice President, Automation and Projects, Kalmar, commented: “We are very excited to work with Yara on this unique groundbreaking project.

“The project involves several firsts for us, including the first fully automated RMG for vessel loading, unloading and container storage management.

“Furthermore, the Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads will drive along the public roads in the Porsgrunn industrial park, which is also used by normal road traffic.

“We are working closely with local authorities and other parties to ensure the safety of passengers and vehicles at all times.”

Read more: Kalmar recently announced its latest development in automated container-handling solutions at TECH TOC in Singapore

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