A first for Kalmar as Yara orders the “world’s first fully-digitalized and zero emission cargo solution” to support Yara’s new fully autonomous feeder vessel.

Fully digital, autonomous terminal for Yara

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, and Yara have entered into an agreement in which Kalmar will deliver fully autonomous equipment, software and services for a unique, fully digitalised container handling solution at Yara’s Porsgrunn facility in Norway.

In 2017 Yara announced an ambitious project in partnership with Kongsberg to implement a new fully autonomous feeder vessel, the Yara Birkeland, to transport fertilizer from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles. This would eliminate up to 40,000 truck journeys through a densely populated part of Norway.

At the time Yara said port operations at Porsgruun would also be fully automated and produce zero emissions, and it has now selected Kalmar to provide that technology.


The quayside concept has changed from an STS crane to a widespan RMG handling the vessel, a stack, and the straddle interchange, a smaller scale system better suited to the volume expected to be carried (approximately 20,000 containers per year).

“Kalmar will provide the autonomous loading and unloading solution for Yara Birkeland, as well as transportation between the fertilizer production facilities and the quay. The Kalmar solution consists of one Kalmar Automated Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (AutoRMG), three Kalmar FastCharge(TM) AutoStrads, a FastCharge charging station and related automation and safety systems. The solution will be implemented in phases, with the level of automation gradually increased over time. The end result will be a fully autonomous, mixed-traffic and zero-emission solution in an industrial environment,” Kalmar stated.

Yara is taking the same, phased approach with the autonomous vessel, planning to start with personnel onboard before moving to remote-controlled operation.

“With this agreement, Yara Birkeland is not just the world’s first electric and autonomous container vessel; it is the world’s first fully digitalised and electric supply chain, with all operations, including loading, unloading and sailing conducted in a fully autonomous manner with zero emissions. Kalmar has the proven equipment and software, and the know-how to integrate their solutions into our supply chain,” said Tove Andersen, EVP Production, Yara.


The deal also includes a service contract. “The Kalmar Care contract includes full maintenance with parts for Kalmar FastCharge(TM) AutoStrads including an availability agreement as well as preventive maintenance for the Kalmar AutoRMG crane. Furthermore, Kalmar personnel will provide operational, automation and software support for the whole solution,” Kalmar noted.


“We are very excited to work with Yara on this unique groundbreaking project. The project involves several firsts for us, including the first fully automated RMG for vessel loading, unloading and container storage management. Furthermore, the Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads will drive along the public roads in the Porsgrunn industrial park, which is also used by normal road traffic. We are working closely with local authorities and other parties to ensure the safety of passengers and vehicles at all times,” said Tero Kokko, Senior Vice President, Automation and Projects, Kalmar.


Source: World Cargo News