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Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg form autonomous vessel joint venture Featured

Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg have collaborated in the creation of a new joint venture called Massterly, which they describe as the “world's first autonomous shipping company.”

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The new company, to be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, aims to offer services encompassing the entire value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development through to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.

“As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships,” said Thomas Wilhelmsen, group CEO at Wilhelmsen.

“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.”

“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.”

The new joint venture company is expected to be fully operational from August 2018, with initial plans including the creation of land-based control centres to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and in other jurisdictions.

“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,” said Geir Håøy, president and CEO of Kongsberg.

“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.”

Kongsberg has already been heavily involved in the development of the fully electric and autonomous container ship YARA Birkeland, which is planned to begin completely autonomous operations by 2020, sailing between Yara’s Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik.{/mprestriction}

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