“I would like to underline the significance of developing efficient ports and port services in order to increase the use of sea transport as part of an integrated logistic chain.”
Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications.
Although it lies on the periphery of Europe, Norway is at the forefront of new trends in shipping policy. A case in point is the country’s active role in the promotion of shortsea shipping – tramp and container feeder services – within Europe. The Norwegian government launched its own initiative, the Shortsea Promotion Center (SPC) Norway, in April 2003, to coordinate public awareness and dialogue with private-sector logistics players. The centre is managed by the Maritimt Forum of Norway and is part of the European Shortsea Network, which was established by the European Union in 2002 as a part of pan-European transport policy.
Norway is encouraging shipping companies to advance plans to develop shortsea services as an economical and environment-friendly alternative to the transport of goods by road. Europes land-based networks are already congested and will become more so particularly as Eastern European economies grow. Viable alternatives, such as sea and rail transport, must be found to prevent the risk of increased environmental degradation. The Norwegian government would like to see sea transport increase its market share over the coming years because of its direct environmental and social benefits. These include relieving overloaded roads, reducing the number of accidents involving heavy-goods vehicles and avoiding the necessity of expensive road infrastructure investments. The sea and inland waterways represent nature’s own transport infrastructure and the job of the SPC is to promote the image of sea transport and facilitate cooperation between land and sea transport providers. The centre advises on total logistics solutions and also lobbies against conditions that work against sea transport.
For its part, the Norwegian Coastal Directorate is also emphasizing increased investment in and better management of Norwegian ports to support increased shortsea activity. Safety and readiness in the event of casualties are also top priorities as shortsea shipping increases and Norway’s National Transport Plan includes measures to further develop the country’s shore-based automatic identification system (AIS) and access to ports of refuge, as well as extending Norwegian territorial waters by 8 nautical miles.
More information about the SPC can be found at the group’s Website – www.shortseashipping.no.