Marine cargo and offshore load handling specialist MacGregor will jointly develop and test an autonomous discharging feature on its bulk handling cranes in conjunction with ESL Shipping, a leading carrier of dry bulk cargoes in the Baltic region.
According to MacGregor, the autonomous discharging feature is designed to offer safety and efficiency advances. The cranes will be fitted on board ESL Shipping’s two new liquefied natural gas-powered handysize bulk carriers.
The system allows discharging operations to be monitored and controlled from the bridge, said MacGregor, negating the need for personnel in hazardous operational areas.
“Our new environment-friendly LNG-fuelled ships will be operated in very demanding trade with high number of voyages, port calls and crane operation hours annually,” said Mikki Koskinen, ESL Shipping managing director. “Autonomous operation will further increase our competitiveness and offer our clients unforeseen efficiency and safety.”
“We are very excited about collaborating with ESL on this development project,” commented Leif Byström, senior vice president, cargo handling at MacGregor. “By combining the expertise of a forward-thinking shipowner and operator with our expertise in intelligent cargo handling we can reduce unnecessary waste in the value chain and therefore develop safer and more efficient solutions for unloading bulk cargoes.”
The vessels are planned to enter service during the second quarter of 2018, when automation testing will commence.