Norwegian maritime groups Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen have jointly announced the establishment of Massterly, an autonomous shipping joint venture that will offer a complete value chain for autonomous ships from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.
The new company will establish land-based control centres to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally.
“As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships. 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. Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need,” said Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO.
Wilhelmsen believes that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the future and initially sees short sea shipping using autonomous ships.
“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. In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others,” commented Geir Håøy, president and CEO of Kongsberg.
In May 2017, Kongsberg and Yara International formed a partnership to build to world’s first fully-electric autonomous container vessel Yara Birkeland.
The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018.