MacGregor, part of Cargotec, and ESL Shipping Oy, part of Aspo, have agreed to jointly develop and test an autonomous discharging feature on MacGregor bulk handling cranes.
As explained, the cranes will be fitted on board ESL Shipping’s two new liquefied natural gas-powered Handysize bulk carriers.
“Autonomous crane operation improves efficiency and safety. Discharging operations can be monitored and controlled from the bridge and therefore eliminate the need for personnel in hazardous operational areas,” Leif Byström, Senior Vice President, Cargo Handling at MacGregor, said.
“Our new environmental friendly LNG-fuelled ships will be operated in very demanding trade with high number of voyages, port calls and crane operation hours annually. Autonomous operation will further increase our competitiveness,” Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director at ESL Shipping, commented.
The duo expects to reduce unnecessary waste in the value chain and develop “safer and more efficient” solutions for unloading bulk cargoes, according to Byström.
The vessels are planned to enter service during the second quarter of 2018, when automation testing will commence.