With Norwegian companies delivering around 60% of the investment, this is a major milestone for the growth of sustainable maritime operations in Norway.

At present, road transport is the single mode of transportation for ASKO to link their warehouses on the western side of the Oslo fjord with their distribution centre on the eastern side. The new RORO vessels will replace the current solution with a zero emission transport alternative.

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,

...explains Kai Just Olsen, Director, ASKO Maritime.

Then, fully electric trucks will take the cargo between the warehouses and the ports of Moss and Horten, and in shipments of 16 the trailers will be transported across the fjord on the battery-driven vessels.

Under the partnership, Kongsberg Maritime will equip the vessels with the technology required for zero emission and unmanned operation, while Massterly will ensure ship management and safe operations from their shore-based Remote Operations Centre. The two vessels will initially operate with a reduced crew, before moving towards unmanned voyages.

Norwegian Maritime Authorities (NMA) will follow the project through a detailed risk assessment, based on IMO 1455 guidelines with regards to equivalent and alternative designs, new technology, verification, and approval for operation. DNV GL will also support this process as an independent third party.

The vessels, which are due to be delivered early in 2022, have been designed by Norwegian vessel designer Naval Dynamics and will be constructed at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard in India.

The functionality enabling autonomous operation will be implemented and tested after arrival in the operational area in the Oslo fjord.