Norway Announces Study on Coastal Route

Havila Castor

Norway’s Ministry of Transport announced a study on the coastal route Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen, to outline the needs for the next tender and bidding period.

The study will look into the transportation requirements the coastal route operations should meet, the environmental impacts it has and the potential for further tightening environmental requirements, according to a press release from the Ministry of Transport.

“We need more knowledge about the basic transportation needs along the coast, and how these can be met in the most environmentally friendly way possible. The goal is to provide the best possible transportation service for people along the coast,” said Minister of Transport Jon-Ivar Nygård.

Havila Voyages, which operates the same route,  said it looks forward to the study, and thetender announcement from Norwegian authorities, with hopes for stringent emissions and environmental requirements, the company said in a statement.

“First and foremost, it is very positive that Norwegian authorities are already starting the work to prepare for the next tender call. We will work closely with Oslo Economics with our inputs and thoughts on the way forward for the coastal route,” said Havila Voyages CEO Bent Martini.

“Despite only being in our first year of full operation with all ships, we have a good database which we believe shows that our societal mission of transporting long-distance passengers and goods is important. As a company, we have had a challenging start, and society has gone through a pandemic, but we believe things are starting to normalize enough that it is fully possible to make good assessments and decisions based on the current situation.

“On each round trip, we have on average around 500 pallets of goods in circulation, and many passengers traveling shorter distances. Both goods and the number of passengers is increasing. The coastal route is very important for value creation along the Norwegian coast and a strong contributor to local communities. The coastal route creates direct and indirect jobs and contributes to people being able to live where they want along the coast, and to them being able to sell their goods and services. The societal mission we are given is also crucial for our operations, and alone we had almost 500 permanent employees in 2023,” added Martini.

Martini hopes the authorities will define the requirements for the next tender round as quickly as possible, for the sake of potential operators on the coastal route.

“This inquiry is an important signal and a start to that process. Hopefully, it will be followed by a prompt announcement of a new tender. Operators who want to win the tender need time to be able to deliver from the next contract period, and we are in an industry where, for example, building new ships is time-consuming.”


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