Norway’s prime minister warns regulators will get tougher on shipping

Norway’s prime minister used the opening speech at Nor-Shipping today to urge shipping to pursue a more urgent, swift decarbonisation, warning regulators are going to get far tougher on the industry soon.

Erna Solberg, prime minister for the last six years, told delegates that it was vital to strike the right balance between production and protection in the world’s oceans. “We cannot unleash the potential of the ocean if we cannot keep them clean,” Solberg said.

Yesterday the Norwegian government released its updated ocean policy with greater green targets through to 2030 than those proscribed by IMO. Ahead of speaking at the opening session today, Solberg was on hand for the release of a new call-to-action report from the UN Global Compact, which called for cross-sector cooperation to clean the world’s oceans.

Solberg went on to discuss the huge technology changes sweeping through shipping, something she felt Norway is and will be leading from the front.

“We still have great aspirations for our maritime industry,” Solberg said. The prime minister said Norwegian companies that pioneer decarbonisation technology will have a great future. She also pointed out that reducing the environmental burden of shipping will actually strengthen maritime trade volumes in the future. The politician argued that Norwegian investments in green shipping were already paying off in terms of employment and the local economy. “It’s key that the green environment does not kill jobs but creates them,” she said.

Solberg concluded with a warning to the many shipowners in the room.

“Remember one thing, if you look at your business models for the future, regulations will be tougher especially for climate change,” Solberg said.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the IMO, took the stage next, and echoed many of the prime minister’s comments, telling the packed conference, “The blue economy must be sustainable, it must not come at the expense of the marine ecosystem.”

Lim conceded owners will feel pressure to be economically sustainable while also being safe and environmentally conscious.

Splash is reporting from Nor-Shipping all week.

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.
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