Norway Relaxes Cabotage Rules

Sturla Henriksen

Published Jun 3, 2015 4:13 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Norwegian government has released a maritime strategy aimed at bolstering the Norwegian flag and strengthening the competitive advantage of Norwegian seafarers and maritime companies. 

“The strategy takes a broad approach and forms a solid foundation which should allow Norway to maintain our leading position, even in challenging times,” says Sturla Henriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association

Norway is a leading maritime nation in the world, and the maritime industry is one of Norway’s largest and most important. “In these times when markets are particularly challenging, stable and competitive maritime policies are more important than ever. The new strategy encourages adaptability and innovation that will allow the industry to take advantage of future maritime opportunities,” Henriksen says.

The government has in large part acknowledged the government-appointed work group’s advice on a revised net wage scheme and the relaxing of cabotage rules for the Norwegian International Ship Register governing foreign short sea shipping, foreign-going ferries and the Norwegian Continental Shelf. “Relaxing cabotage rules will open the door to more ships under the Norwegian flag. This will contribute to strengthening Norway’s position and influence internationally,” Henriksen maintains.

Proposed changes in the net wage scheme in several important segments will contribute to strengthening the competitive advantage of Norwegian seafarers. “Practical onboard experience is important for the entire value chain, and strengthening the net wage scheme is therefore critical for Norway as a maritime nation,” Henriksen states.

Norway is one of the world’s leading maritime nations, and value creation in the Norwegian maritime industry has doubled over the past ten years. More than 110,000 employees now create value for NOK 175 billion ($22 billion) each year in Norway, and for the first time, Norwegian shipowners have created more than NOK 100 million ($13 million) in annual value.

In many coastal communities maritime companies represent more than half of value creation and jobs.

The government’s new strategy contains a series of measures within education and competency, measures that will contribute to positive developments in green shipping, a more service-oriented maritime authority and not least to maintaining Norway’s leading position in development of the High North, says Henriksen. “We are pleased to see the government follow up in practice their stated ambition of Norway as one of the leading maritime nations of the world, now and in the future.”