Norway presses ahead with the world’s first ship tunnel

Construction of the world’s first shipping tunnel has been given the go ahead with state funding coming in for the much debated giant engineering work.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) will compete a tender process this year with construction to start on the Stad Ship Tunnel in 2022 ahead of a planned opening in 2025 or 2026.

The 1.7 km Stad tunnel is located on a treacherous part of Norway’s west coast where a number of ships have foundered over the years.

The tunnel will allow both freight and passenger ships to transit directly between the Norwegian Sea to the north and the North Sea to the south while remaining within fjord waters. This will finally allow year-round safe passage of ships shuttling between Bergen and Alesund.

The tunnel has been deliberated for more than a century – with it first mooted in a newspaper article from 1874. The rough seas around Stad are notorious with historians observing how the Vikings often dragged their boats overland when bad weather came in more than a 1,000 years ago.

The 45 m high, 36 m wide tunnel will traverse under a 645 m mountain and will be able to accommodate ships with a draft of 12 m.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Hi
    Are you really sure about diggibg a tunnel between Bergen and Ålesund???? Check the map, please.

    1. If the Japanese can dig a tunnel between Honshu and Hokkaido Norwegians cand do that tunnel. If you can get the money it is possible….

    2. The article doesn’t say the tunnel would be from one of those two places to the other, but that it would “…allow year-round safe passage of ships shuttling between…” them. The tunnel could be just a small dangerous section of the coast between those cities and that sentence would still make sense.

    3. It’s not a tunnel from one to the other, those places are start and finish with tunnel somewhere in between.

    4. “This will finally allow year-round safe passage of ships shuttling between Bergen and Alesund.”

      This doesn’t say that the TUNNEL is actually that long, only that ships ON THAT ROUTE will be able to pass safely, using the tunnel to avoid the dangerous section.

  2. Surely Greta Thurnberg will talk them out of this – Al Gore’s predicted 20 – 30 meter sea level rises will render this unusable.

  3. The 1.7km tunnel is at a narrow place between two fjords allowing passage in mostly sheltered waters between the two mentioned ports.
    Self explanatory if the article is great in full.

  4. Interesting project, but it’s not really the first shipping tunnel. Only the first in its size. You will find tunnels for shipping in inland canals in Belgium and Scotland as well.

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