Two autonomous battery-electric ro-ro vessels are being built at Cochin Shipyard (CSL) in India for use by a Norwegian operator.

ASKO autonomous ship

The autonomous ships will be operated by ASKO Maritime. Photo:Naval Dynamics

The ships will be operated by ASKO Maritime, Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler and are designed for transporting trailers across Oslo Fjord between two of ASKO’s distribution centres.

Kai Just Olsen, director of ASKO Maritime, said: “We have a clear ambition to be climate neutral and have set ambitious goals, including being a self-sufficient provider of clean energy and having 100% emission-free transport by 2026. These innovative ships are key to fulfilling that ambition and will form an essential component of a zero-emissions logistics chain linking our facilities.”

Naval Dynamics design

The 67m long vessels have been designed by Naval Dynamics in Norway. They will be built under DNV (formerly known as DNV GL Classification and flagged in Norway.

Both vessels are scheduled to enter operation in January 2022. The contract includes options for two further vessels.

The vessels will be fitted with a bridge forward and initially they will be operated with a crew on board. Once established, the vessels will operate fully autonomously for ASKO with the ability to transport 16 fully loaded standard EU trailers at a time. These will be stowed on the open deck with a loading ramp at the stern.

The operating speed will be 10 knots and it is anticipated that this mode of trailer transport will replace over 2m road miles per year, in turn saving around 5,000t of CO2 every year.

By Rebecca Jeffrey