World’s first autonomous cargo ship produces zero-emissions and is all electric

  • It is powered by a 7 MWh battery
  • Meant to replace 40,000 trips carried out by diesel trucks per year
  • It has a top speed of 13 knots and can carry 103 standard-sized containers


Published on Mar 12, 2024 at 2:28 PM (UTC+4)
by Nalin Rawat

Last updated on Mar 12, 2024 at 9:14 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Yara Birkeland is the first-ever fully electric, completely autonomous cargo ship to produce zero emissions.

Going green has been a priority for many companies, but how many have succeeded in pulling it off?

However, Norway-based company, Yara International, has put its money where its mouth is and completely changed the way it operates.

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The company has commissioned an all-electric cargo ship that is less polluting and travels to its destination autonomously.

While major technological advances have made traveling by EV cars and electric trains much more sustainable, sea transportation still has a long way to go.

Enter Yara International, a chemical company that makes fertilizers and transports their final product in trucks across the country.

However, the company is now planning to shift its operation to the all-electric autonomous cargo ship, Yara Birkeland.

The autonomous cargo ship is estimated to cut 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and replace 40,000 trips carried out by diesel trucks per year.

The Yara Birkeland was planned to start operation by 2020 but was delayed due to its unique nature and also the pandemic.

Powered by a 7 MWh battery, the cargo ship is expected to travel at a top speed of 13 knots and carry 103 standard-sized containers.

Since there will be no crew on board, the entire journey is monitored through three onshore data control centers.

However, regulations require crew on board for two years before being considered for remote control.

In the future, we can assume many companies to switch to a similar idea or invest in self-driving cars and autonomous trucks to get the job done.

Hopefully, the world’s first autonomous cargo ship, Yara Birkeland, will set an example and lead the way for others to follow. 

The adoption of autonomous cargo ships and all-electric ferries can definitely help the environment massively.

# Tags - future, Ships, Tech


Nalin Rawat

Nalin started his career by working with various national newspapers in India. He has also worked as a writer/editor for many popular websites, while still pursuing his journalism and mass communication degree. Working as a digital nomad has allowed him to inform and educate through his work. When he is not writing, you can find him playing video games or travelling the mountains on his bike.