Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG establish world's first autonomous shipping company: Massterly
The road toward autonomy has taken a major step with the announcement that Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg are collectively taking the 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. The new venture is dubbed "Massterly".
What is Massterly?
Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO, explains: "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."
The Massterly plan is to have land-based control centers monitor and operate autonomous ships globally, tapping Kongsberg's tech solutions and Wilhelmsen's logistics and ship management operations.
Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG, said, “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. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalizing the infrastructure and operations,"
Yara Birkeland Milestone
A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of Yara Birkeland in May 2017. It will be the world's first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara's Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland.
"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," says Wilhelmsen.
The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018.