Asko’s Fully Autonomous Freight Ferries Begins Service in Norway

ASKO Maritime named two fully autonomous electric vessels in a christening ceremony on September 15th. The ceremony was held at the Harbor in Moss, Norway. The vessels are intended to haul groceries for NorgesGruppen, the largest grocery chain in Norway, and will travel between the ports of Moss and Horten.

The vessels were named MS Marit and MS Therese in honor of former cross country skiers and Olympic champions; Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug.

The vessels, which ASKO refers to as sea drones, were built at India’s Cochin Shipyard Limited. They are 67 m long and weigh 60 tons each. Powered by 1846kWh batteries, the vessels will be able to recharge when they dock at ports. The Norwegian government contributed $12.8 million to their construction as a part of a larger project of making transportation across the Oslo Fjord emission-free.

The vessels have started operations and will sail with a crew of 4 for the trial period of the first two years. After this period the plan is to let them sail completely unmanned and be remotely operated from an onshore site in Horten. The technology for onshore site operations is being provided by Massterly, a joint venture between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen.

ASKO envisions transporting 150 trailers/day within a few years on this route. This will end up saving ASKO nearly 1 million miles of road transport per year and reduce 5000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

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