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Kalmar to provide landside equipment for Yara Birkeland project

Norwegian fertilizer company Yara has joined the last link in the chain to setting up the world’s first completely digital and emissions-free supply chain for its products after signing an agreement with Cargotec’s cargo handling solutions unit Kalmar to deliver fully autonomous equipment, software and services for a unique, fully digitalised container handling solution at its Porsgrunn facility in Norway.

Following from its deal with Kongsberg to build the world's first fully autonomous, electric container vessel, Yara Birkeland, this means that all the necessary operations related to the vessel will be conducted in a fully autonomous and cost efficient manner, with zero emissions.

"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 Yara production evp Tove Andersen.

Yara Birkeland will reduce emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in a densely populated area of Norway. The vessel will 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.

Read More: Autonomous vessels a 'huge opportunity' for shortsea shipping

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 will also support Yara's operations with a full-scale service contract as well as operational, automation and software support for the whole solution. Delivery is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2020. No financial details were announced.

"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 vp, Automation and Projects, Kalmar.

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