A Game-Changer in the Ocean Freight Sector?


  • DB Schenker plans to operate a zero-emission autonomous coastal container feeder for Ekornes ASA in Norway.
  • The Vessel will be the first of its kind with a pre-study agreement.
  • It would contain a strong partner network that provides an innovative solution for sustainable and cost-effective shipping, says an article published on their website. 

One of A Kind

DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest logistics companies, has announced intentions to build a zero-emission coastal container feeder in Norway. The totally electric vessel features a one-of-a-kind design, making it the world’s first of its kind.

Replacement of Traditional Feeders 

With the signing of a Prestudy agreement, DB Schenker and its collaboration partners – furniture giant Ekornes and vessel designer Naval Dynamics, as well as KONGSBERG and Massterly – have taken the first steps in an ambitious joint project to replace the traditional feeder vessels used along the Norwegian coastline between Ikornnes and Lesund. Naval Dynamics’ NDS AutoBarge 250 idea was developed in collaboration with KONGSBERG and Massterly to create the new autonomous and electric short-sea container feeder.


The vessel will operate between Ekornes’ home port of Ikornnes and the port of Lesund, which services Europe’s major ocean freight ports. At a speed of 7.7 knots, the ship will finish the 43-kilometer (23-mile) excursion in three hours. The ship will be 50 meters long and capable of carrying 300 tonnes of cargo deadweight. It is built from the ground up to be self-contained and emission-free. It will operate without a crew, but will be monitored and controlled by Massterly’s Remote Operation Center (ROC), which is staffed by certified navigators and naval engineers.

Another game-changer in the ocean freight industry is the anticipated two-way data connection system between the vessel and the ROC. 

Key Members and their Insights 

Knut Eriksmoen, CEO Norway, DB Schenker: “We are delighted to be further intensifying an already strong relationship with our customer Ekornes. This unique project marks another important step toward greener supply chains, and it also fits in perfectly with our overall sustainability agenda in ocean freight, where we are ambitiously taking the lead with our cooperation partners.”

Roger Lunde, CEO, Ekornes AS: “We’re continuously working toward our goal of becoming the world’s leading manufacturer of sustainable premium furniture. With this landmark project, we will meet our sustainability targets by using the most innovative technology available. Utilizing the autonomous electric container feeder for direct pickups of our Stressless products from our own dock in Ikornnes means that our total carbon footprint will be reduced significantly. We will also gain better control over, and greater flexibility with, our own logistics.”

Geir Håøy, CEO, KONGSBERG ASA: “We’re beginning to see a general shift away from road transport of goods – with its considerable carbon footprint – toward clean, energy-efficient, short ocean freight transport. Given our decades of expertise in creating and perfecting systems for ship operations in every context, we are in a unique position to carry out pioneering work in this project. KONGSBERG is currently involved in several fully electric and autonomous vessel operations, including Yara Birkeland and ASKO. We look forward to contributing our expertise and experience to this new partnership with DB Schenker and Ekornes.”

Tom Eystø, Managing Director, Massterly: “We are very pleased to be working with Ekornes and DB Schenker to create a smart logistics solution for the Ekornes production site. The small, fully electric, and energy-efficient cargo vessel will be designed for uncrewed operations. Massterly will operate the vessel from our Remote Operation Center. We find it very interesting that one of the world’s largest logistics providers, DB Schenker, is recognizing the benefits offered by uncrewed, zero-emission shipping, and we hope this project will inspire a larger volume of similar vessels.”

Øystein Jaer, CEO, Naval Dynamics AS: “The AutoBarge 250 Coast Feeder is designed from the keel up for efficient and zero-emission autonomous operations. In partnership with Massterly AS – the vessel operator and technical manager – and Kongsberg Maritime AS – the technology provider – we are confident that DB Schenker and Ekornes will be provided with an optimal and viable transport chain that will meet the future demands of customers around the world.”

Parties’ Common Interests

There will be various advantages, including zero emissions, faster and more efficient transportation, and reduced road traffic. The parties’ joint objective is to showcase this pioneering vessel in Norway and then take the next critical steps forward by securing approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, as well as possibly governmental incentives for sustainability and technology.

About Kongsberg Maritime AS

Kongsberg Maritime is a global marine technology company that provides innovative and reliable “full picture” technology solutions for all marine industry sectors. Headquartered in Norway, Kongsberg Maritime has manufacturing, sales, and service facilities in 34 countries. KONGSBERG celebrates 200 years in business in 2014. Kongsberg Maritime is part of Kongsberg Gruppen (KONGSBERG), an international, knowledge-based group that celebrated 200 years in business in 2014.

About Massterly 

Kongsberg Maritime and the Wilhelmsen Group have partnered to form Massterly. Massterly offers autonomous shipping services for customers’ full value chains as the world’s first firm set up to operate autonomous vessels. The company’s goal is to facilitate a change in transportation from land to water.

About Naval Dynamics AS

Naval Dynamics AS is a privately held maritime engineering firm that focuses on developing efficient and viable solutions and concepts for the offshore, shipping, and energy industries. The Oslo-based firm has over 20 years of naval architecture and design experience. From concept to delivery, it takes pride in incorporating clients, suppliers, and shipyards in the development process.

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Source: DB Schenker


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