Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg have joined forces to create a new autonomous vessel company called Massterly.
The Norwegian companies will take next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.
Massterly will use land-based control centres to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally.
With a combined 360 years of experience, Massterly will benefit from Kongsberg’s technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen's logistics and ship management operations.
The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018.
Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO, said: “As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships.
“Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations.
“Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need.”
In May 2017, Kongsberg announced that it would produce the world’s first fully electric and autonomous containership, the Yara Birkeland, by 2020.
The ship will sail between Yara's Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik.
Massterly plans to deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland.
Learn more about the Yara Birkeland:
Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg, commented: “Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities.
“In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others.
“When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations.”
Wilhelmsen added: “Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future.
“At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships.
“This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea.
“The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions.
“For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals.”