Vard chosen to build Yara autonomous boxship

Norwegian shipbuilder Vard has been chosen by Yara to build the Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous and electric container vessel.

First announced by Yara and Kongsberg last year, the boxship will be used to replace trucks for the shipping of products from Yara’s Porsgrunn fertiliser production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway.

The shipbuilding deal with Vard is worth NOK250m ($29.6m) and the Yara Birkeland is scheduled for delivery in early 2020. The vessel will initially be manned, with 2022 targeted for fully autonomous operations.

Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara, commented: “A vessel like Yara Birkeland has never been built before, and we rely on teaming up with partners with an entrepreneurial mindset and cutting edge expertise. Vard combines experience in customized ship building with leading innovation, and will deliver a game-changing vessel which will help us lower our emissions, and contribute to feeding the world while protecting the planet.”

The vessel’s hull will built at the Vard Braila in Romania and completed at Vard Brevik in Norway.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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