Yara takes delivery of autonomous boxship Yara Birkeland

In one of this year’s most eagerly anticipated ship deliveries, Norwegian shipbuilder Vard has handed over the zero emissions autonomous container vessel Yara Birkeland to Yara International.

Yara says the vessel will first undergo testing for container loading and stability, before heading to a test area in Horten for further preparations for autonomous operation.

“Yara Birkeland is an example of Yara’s ambition to innovate and find climate-friendly solutions which can be commercialized. However, innovation projects come with uncertainties and challenges. In particular, the autonomous logistics on land that have proven to be a challenge for the project. The construction of the ship has been done according to plan with slight delays, including the fitting of the battery, control and navigation systems, For the autonomous logistics on land the project team continues to look for simplified solutions to this,” Yara said in an update.

After experiencing delays due to Covid-19, the world’s first battery-powered autonomous vessel is expected to go into operations towards the end of 2021.

“Yara’s goal is to complete the project and bring the emission-free ship into commercial operation. Different ownership models or partnerships will be evaluated for operation and commercialization,” the company said.

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.


  1. Testing for container loading and stability??? After the ship has been completed?? Do this mean that the intact stability hasn’t been approved before the she was built? , and that intended cargo cannot be loaded?.

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