Norwegian furniture manufacturer Ekornes AS has signed a preliminary study agreement on a ‘first of its kind’ vessel with DB Schenker.
The partnership plans to operate an innovative, zero-emission coastal vessel for container freight between Ikornne’s quay in Sykkylven and Ålesund harbor in Sunnmøre. The all-electric vessel has a unique design, which makes the vessel the first of its kind in the world.
DB Schenker and its partners – furniture giant Ekornes and ship designer Naval Dynamics, in addition to KONGSBERG and Massterly – have just signed a feasibility study agreement and have thus taken the first steps towards an ambitious, common goal of replacing the traditional feeder vessels used along this stretch of the Norwegian coastline.
The new autonomous, electric, container ship is intended for shorter distances, and is being developed according to Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 concept developed in collaboration with KONGSBERG and Massterly.
The vessel will run between Ekornes’ own port, at Ikornnes in Sykkylven, to the port of Ålesund, which in turn serves the most important ports in Europe. The freight route of 43 km (23 nautical miles) is completed in three hours, with a speed of 7.7 knots. The vessel is 50 meters long, can carry a cargo of 300 deadweight tons and is designed from the keel up to be best suited for the purpose of autonomous operation and zero emissions. The goal is for the vessel to sail without a crew, but be monitored by Massterlys Remote Operation Center (ROC) which is manned by certified navigators and marine engineers.
Knut Eriksmoen, CEO, DB Schenker Norway, said: “It is a pleasure to further strengthen our good customer relationship with Ekornes. This unique project marks another important step towards greener supply chains and contributes to our overall agenda for sustainable maritime transport. We are ambitiously taking the lead here, together with our partners. “
Roger Lunde, CEO, Ekornes AS, said: “We are constantly working towards the goal of becoming the globally leading manufacturer of sustainable premium furniture. This project is a milestone on the way to achieving our sustainability goals, and uses the most innovative technology available. With an autonomous, all-electric container feeder that picks up our Stressless products directly from our quay at Ikornnes, we can significantly reduce our overall carbon footprint. We will also have better control and greater flexibility in our own logistics.”