World's first autonomous shipping company formed
Massterly of Norway is a joint venture between Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg
Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg have teamed up to form Massterly to be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and fully operational from August 2018.
The new joint venture is the world's first autonomous shipping company, offering a complete value chain, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.
Kongsberg already has been working on autonomy, including Hrönn, an unmanned multi-purpose utility vessel that is due to start servicing offshore sites this year.
"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" Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen CEO, explained.
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.
“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" Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg said.
A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of Yara Birkeland in May 2017, the world's first fully-electric container vessel and completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara's Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik.
"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" Wilhelmsen stated.