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Havila Capella in Brønnøysund. (Photo: Martin Giskegjerde/Oclin)
Havila Capella in Brønnøysund. (Photo: Martin Giskegjerde/Oclin)

Press release -

Supports study about the Coastal Route and hopes for stricter environmental requirements

On Thursday, the Ministry of Transport announced a study on the coastal route Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen, to map out needs for the next tender period. Havila Voyages looks forward to the study, and the next tender announcement from Norwegian authorities, with hopes for stricter emissions and environmental requirements.

Oslo Economics is appointed by the Ministry of Transport to conduct study into the coastal route Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen. The study will, among other things, look at the transport needs the coastal route operations should meet, what environmental impacts it has, and the potential for further tightening environmental requirements, according to a press release (in Norwegian) 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”, says Minister of Transport Jon-Ivar Nygård in the press release.

Havila Voyages is one of two operators on the coastal route Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen in the current contract period and is positive about the study.

“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”, says CEO Bent Martini of Havila Voyages.

“Despite only being in our first year of full operation with all ships, we have a good data base 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”.

Important for local value creation
In 2023, 51% of the passengers on Havila Voyages' ships were long-distance passengers, and the company transported almost 9000 tons of goods along the Norwegian coast.

“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”, says Martini.

Martini believes that authorities must come out with the requirements for the next tender round as quickly as practically 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”.

Wants stricter environmental requirements
The last main theme of the inquiry deals with the environment. Here, the scope for technological choices, infrastructure, and energy consumption will be mapped out. Havila Voyages welcomes stricter environmental requirements and is pleased with the signals from the department.

“It is very positive that the Minister of Transport is so clear that the transportation needs along the coast should be met in the most environmentally friendly way possible. As an operator along the coast, we have a significant responsibility, which we cannot shirk. A responsibility for future generations, who should also be allowed to live and experience our beautiful coast, as we are allowed today. Then we cannot delay stricter environmental requirements. The coastal route can be a lighthouse for a greener shift in shipping, and we believe Norwegian authorities must seize this opportunity with both hands”, says Martini.

“We are also not on board with the argument that the technology is not in place, and that it is too early to tighten environmental and emission requirements. We have already proven, four years ahead of the deadline, that it is possible to sail emission-free in the World Heritage fjords, despite the industry saying it was impossible when the decision was taken in 2018”.

Martini further states that Havila Voyages has the ambition to sail the entire coastal route emission-free, with the current fleet, from the next contract period.

“Our ships can sail climate neutrally today by switching from natural gas to bio gas, without needing a single upgrade. Our ships are also prepared for, for example, hydrogen, a zero-emission fuel. The technology is there, and it is possible if there is the will to implement it”.

“Norwegian authorities must set the direction and create the incentives needed to make environmentally friendly fuel and necessary infrastructure along the coast available”, concludes Martini.

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The Havila Voyages is a Norwegian shipping company that sails the classic coastal voyage between Bergen and Kirkenes with the Norwegian coast's most environmentally friendly ships.

The four new ships are loaded with the world's largest battery pack, and can sail for four hours without noise or emissions through vulnerable fjords. The batteries are charged with clean hydropower at shore, and when the batteries are low we switch to natural gas which cuts CO2 by around 25 %.

The hull is specially designed for maximum energy efficiency, and excess heat from cooling water and sea used for heating on board. On the menu are locally made dishes from local producers, and all unnecessary plastic is avoided. We are already exceeding the authorities' requirements for cutting emission, and we have set sail with zero emissions as the future target.

The Havila Voyages is part of the Havila Group that dates back to the 1950s. It all started when the founder, Per Sævik, bought his first fishing boat in his teens. From fishing and herring fishing, Havila is now a group operating in shipping technology, offshore, transport and tourism.


Lasse A. Vangstein

Lasse A. Vangstein

Press contact Chief Communications & Marketing Officer Communication, marketing & sustainability +47 93449954

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