December 10, 2020

Moormaster Nxg Vital for ASKO’s Autonomous, Zero-Emission Roro Fleet and A Profitable Way to Sustainability for The Industry At Large

ASKO Maritime – the shipping arm of Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler – is doing something revolutionary in the history of shipping. Its fleet of vessels, planned to start operation early 2022, are designed to be both fully electric and autonomous. It means there will be no captain and no crew on board as the ships operate their route across the Oslo Fjord.

But of course, autonomous operations require many innovations. A key component in ASKO’s plan is a system that can automatically moor ships in port. The autonomous vessels could use their thrusters to stay in position, but this would increase energy consumption and reduce battery life. Therefore, ASKO Maritime has selected Cavotec’s next generation vacuum mooring technology, MoorMaster NxG, to moor the vessel within 30 seconds from arriving at berth.

In the words of ASKO Maritime’s CEO, Kai Just Olsen, MoorMaster NxG is “modern technology for a futuristic fleet”. We have used every minute of data from 20 years’ service to re-design MoorMaster from the ground up, to deliver easier installation and smarter operations – all in a sleeker footprint which requires 40% less depth on the quay. Now it is easy to integrate transformative MoorMaster technology at operational ferry and cargo berths across the world.

Nowhere does MoorMaster automated mooring add more value than at ferry and roro terminals with more than one call per day. By mooring in seconds, the terminal frees up valuable minutes that can be used to load more cargo or shorten turnarounds. Every minute saved in port also lets the vessels cruise slower to its next port, saving fuel and the environment.

The time savings also have a positive impact on health and safety. The fast mooring allows the vessels’ engines to be shut off faster, thereby reducing harmful emissions for port employees and nearby communities. Port accidents are also more common in compressed loading windows where stress causes mistakes. With automated mooring, ships’ crews and quayside personnel can focus on value-added activities, such as loading and unloading cargo.

It all comes down to profitable sustainability. Typically, sustainability benefits are viewed as a drag on financial results. But with automated vacuum mooring, ports and shipping companies become more profitable and at the same time contribute to a greener, less polluted world.

There is no doubt the shipping industry will embrace new, safer, more sustainable mooring practices as the rate of innovation picks up throughout the maritime supply chains. ASKO Maritime needed to adopt automated mooring for their fleet of the future.  In other ports, automated mooring can be considered a “nice to have”. Nice for the people not putting their lives on the line, nice for the environment, and nice for the company’s bottom line.

Article by Nicklas Vedin, Product Manager, Cavotec MoorMaster