However, “now we’re a little bit more optimistic towards the future and hope we see an improving market, both in offshore and the traditional maritime transportation market,” he added - despite some concerns over ongoing trade disputes such as that between the US and China.
Over the past few decades Norwegian shipowners have progressed from tankers to short-sea shipping to offshore oil & gas-related vessels, Solberg observed; recently they have used that latter expertise to move into the windfarm and renewable energy market as well, demonstrating how the country’s “maritime experience can be used in new areas.”
Today NSA members operate some 1,800 vessels around the world, representing a highly “advanced and diversified” fleet. In April the association published its Outlook Report 2019, with the tagline: “Faith in the future despite tough markets.”
However, the main challenge now is preparing for the “headache” of what new technologies are needed for the future,” Solberg continued, since “decisions we take now will affect shipping in 2040 to 2050,” with reducing GHG emissions and harnessing digitalisation the twin priorities.
On decarbonisation, NSA’s “ambition is to use the Norwegian coast as a technology lab,” he stated, “while we realise that the technology for oceangoing ships is not developed yet.”
And on digitalisation he spoke of the need to “build new competencies in our companies, ways of regulation, business models, and cyber security,” all the while attracting the best young talent into the industry.
In this way Norwegian shipping is confident it will be able to put in place “a new value chain with lower emissions and new solutions,” concluded the head of the NSA.