Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG are establishing the world's first autonomous shipping company.

  • Ove Ronny Haraldsen
    Group Communication Manager

Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG are joining forces to take the next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.

“As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships. Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations,” says Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO.

Land-based control centres will be established to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally.

With a combined 360 years of experience, Massterly will benefit from KONGSBERG's unique technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen’s world-leading experience in logistics and ship management operations.

Norway’s position as a leading maritime nation also creates opportunities in the development of next-generation maritime personnel.

-“I think we just have seen the start of autonomous ships and autonomous operations. Norway as an maritime nation has the oportunities to take a leading position in the future,” says KONGSBERG CEO Geir Håøy.

“Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG.  

“In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations,” Håøy says.

The joint venture between Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG was presented at a press conference in Bjørvika on 3th of April, with attendance from the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.

As a demonstration of technology, Mr. Røe Isaksen was given the opportunity to remotely operate two autonomous vessels at test-site Trondheimsfjorden.

Mr. Røe Isaksen firmly believe that autonomous shipping is going to strengthen Norway’s position as a maritime superpower.

“It means that we are taking a further step in order to maintain our position as one of the leading maritime powers in the world. It is due to the fact that we are early developers of technology, we are early users of technology. The partnership today between Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG is a good illustration of that. This is the future of our maritime industries and we are making a step towards it today,” says Mr. Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry.

A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of “Yara Birkeland” in May 2017.

It will be the world’s first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara’s Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland. 


“Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future. At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships,”says Wilhelmsen and continues.

“This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions. For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals.”

The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018. For more information, please visit: www.massterly.com

Autonomous maritime technology will change the world. Making maritime logistics the most efficient, safest and most sustainable transportation alternative.