Meet the Aurora Class

The future of deep sea shipping: Greener – Better – Smarter

In April 2021, Höegh Autoliners launched the design for the zero-carbon ready Aurora Class vessels and in January 2022, the Company announced the contract signing with China Merchants Heavy Industry. To date, contracts for building of 12 Aurora class vessels have been signed and the first two vessels will be delivered to Höegh Autoliners in Q3 2024. The Company expects delivery of two Aurora Class vessels every six months following this. Höegh Autoliners has an option to build another four vessels (vessels 13-16), as well as slot reservations for additional four vessels (vessels 17-20).

Höegh Autoliners wants to be the preferred green partner in deep sea shipping and is committed to building a more sustainable maritime industry in close cooperation with our partners and customers.

"The Aurora Class represents the future of our business as well as the future of the industry. We are proud of setting a gold standard by reducing our environmental footprint significantly and enabling our customers to decarbonise their supply chain as well," says Sebjørn Dahl, Chief Operations Officer.
Signing ceremony, China Merchants Heavy Industries shipyard.
Building of the Aurora Class, China Merchants Heavy Industries shipyard.

Designing the future of the maritime industry

Shipping is a capital-intensive industry and the vessels Höegh Autoliners designs today will be operating for up to 30 years. Therefore, flexibility is key as no one knows what the technology will look like in 10 years.

The Aurora Class will be the largest and most environmentally friendly car carrier in the industry and the first in the PCTC segment to receive DNV’s ammonia and methanol-ready notations, and the main engine provided by MAN and the bridge system supplied by Kongsberg Maritime.

Designed to carry up to 9 100 cars, the multi-fuel and zero carbon ready Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) vessels will be the first in the PCTC segment to be able to operate on zero carbon ammonia. They signify a breakthrough in reaching Höegh Autoliners’ ambitious net zero emissions target by 2040. The Aurora Class will cut carbon emissions per car transported by 58% from current average when the first vessel is put into commercial operations in August 2024. The first dual-fuel zero carbon ammonia Aurora Class vessel will be on the water in 2027.

The Aurora Class was designed with flexibility in mind. Designed for future cargo, the vessel’s strengthened decks and enhanced internal ramp systems enable Electric Vehicles on all decks and provide more flexibility for heavier project cargo. Roll trailer capacity for HHBB cargo is 100% increased. The improved internal ramp systems are built for future cargo.


“We want to lead the way towards net zero emissions and have made significant headway with our transformational green fleet renewal strategy. Our zero carbon ready Aurora Class vessels will have DNV’s “ammonia ready” and “methanol ready” notations, making the vessels the first in the segment to be ready to operate on zero carbon ammonia,” says Leif O. Høegh, Chair.

Höegh Autoliners has been working closely with Kongsberg Digital on a pilot project for several years to develop Digital Twins for our Horizon class vessels. This initiative involves gathering data from all critical assets on the vessels using Vessel Insight, a cloud-based system. Trim and ballast optimalisation for fuel reduction and increased safety, together with AI voyage planning and execution are other examples of digital enhancement for our new vessels. The upcoming Aurora Class is expected to set new standards for digitalisation, with a strong focus on operational efficiency, safety and sustainability.

1 500 square meters of solar panels are installed on top deck of the Aurora Class vessels with maximum output power of 150 kW. While in port, the Auroras Class vessels are ready for receiving electric shore power. The shore power will replace the need for running on auxiliary engines in port and the solar panels will reduce emissions both at sea and while in port. Both solar panels and shore power are important steps on our path to zero.

In addition to our experienced personnel and digital surveillance, we have implemented an extended number of fire zones, installed heat and smoke detecting cameras and fire blanket stations on all cargo decks. We have more than the class requirements of CO2 amount, which serves as a highly efficient fire extinguisher on board our vessels.

  • 2021

    Our Aurora story

    This was a pivotal year where we reset our ambition and attained the financial capacity to invest in a greener fleet of the future. The dawn of a new era in maritime history was marked by the launch of the design of the world’s largest and most environmentally friendly PCTC vessels, our Aurora Class vessels, and our green fleet renewal program. This innovative idea promised a future of zero-carbon vessels, setting a new standard within the industry. The new Aurora Class vessels have been key to positioning Höegh Autoliners as a front runner in sustainable shipping.

  • 2022

    Our Aurora story

    The year began with the realisation of our Aurora dream with a grand contract signing ceremony. The agreement was for a series of Aurora Class vessels, all designed to be zero-carbon ready. During the year, contract was signed for our first eight Aurora Class vessels, with options for another four vessels (9-12) and slot reservation for further four vessels (13-16).

    The financing for the first eight vessels was secured, marking a significant milestone in this ambitious project.

  • 2023

    Our Aurora story

    The first Aurora Class vessels began to take shape with the commencement of steel cutting, symbolising the birth of a new generation of ships. Steel cutting for the next five vessels also commenced in 2023. The newbuilding program was extended to 12 Aurora Class vessels when the option to build four additional vessels was declared, including an option for installing ammonia engines on these vessels.

    Committed financing for all of the ordered Aurora Class vessels was secured on attractive terms. The Aurora project, once a mere concept, was now a tangible reality, sailing towards a sustainable future.

  • 2024

    Our Aurora story

    Höegh Autoliners, one of the few global shipping companies to do so, secured access to four of the first 2-stroke ammonia engines produced in cooperation with MAN Energy Solutions and Hyundai Heavy Industries. By the end the year, the first two Aurora Class vessels will be delivered and ready to be put into operations. These state-of-the-art vessels will be a testament to years of planning and hard work and represent a pivotal part of our path to a net-zero emission future.

    Through our Aurora project we will demonstrate the feasibility of transitioning from conventional fuel to sustainable alternatives, reshaping the narrative of deep-sea shipping within only a few years.

  • 2027

    Our Aurora story

    Fast forward to 2027, the Company is considering to launch the first Aurora Class vessels capable of running on ammonia straight from the yard. This will mark a major step on the path to zero emissions, aligning with the Company’s ambitious 30 by 30 target.

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