ASKO is the largest food distributor in Norway, and the company maintains warehouses on both sides of the Oslofjord, which is a 107-kilometer-long fjord located in the south-east corner of Norway. The Greater Oslo Region is served by this company’s wide distribution network of retailers, which includes more than 80 SPAR locations. In order to accomplish this, there are up to 150 trailers that move every day between the several regional warehouses. These trailers are moved on diesel lorries, which navigate frequently traveled routes.
ASKO is currently testing a new zero-emission system that makes use of Norway’s waterways in an efficient manner and incorporates the most recent transport technologies in order to meet its goals of achieving climate-neutral transportation by the year 2026 and reducing the amount of mileage driven on roads that are already congested.
ASKO’s new battery-electric maritime drones are a first of their kind in the world and can sail totally unattended between the ports of Moss and Horten. These drones run across the fjord between the two cities. The cargo will be carried to the ports by electric lorries in collaboration with ASKO’s main warehouses in Sande and Vestby. Once they arrive at the ports, autonomous terminal tractors will pull the trailers on board. After that, the vessels will transfer the trailers over the Oslofjord, after which electric lorries will pick them up and drive them to the regional warehouses ASKO Agder and ASKO Vestfold-Telemark.
While the self-driving maritime drones charge while they are docked, the lorries and terminal tractors charge at ABB charging points located throughout the port.
Beginning in the middle of the year 2023, the vessels are scheduled to make the journey between Moss and Horten four times per day, in both directions. It is anticipated that the system will contribute to lower transportation costs and a yearly decrease in CO2 emissions of 5,000 tons by displacing one million road kilometers of lorry transport each year (which is equivalent to about 16,600 driver hours annually).
Using maritime drones, around 83 SPAR outlets will receive items that have been transported from the central warehouse of ASKO located in Vestby to ASKO’s regional warehouses.
On August 9, 2022, the self-navigating marine drones finally landed in the port of Horten in Norway, having traveled a significant distance from India. The journey of the drones began on June 28 in Cochin, India, when they were carried onto the Yacht Servant before setting sail. This 214-meter long vessel sailed up the east coast of India before crossing the Arabian Sea, sailing through the Suez Canal, then sailing across the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Biscay before sailing through the English Channel on its way to Horten.