Along the Norwegian coast there is a complete maritime cluster that includes world-leading companies in a wide range of segments. Norwegian companies and knowledge institutes are behind a continuous stream of innovations in ship design, dynamic positioning, propulsion systems, equipment and services.

On the threshold of a new decade, prospects were good for growth for the maritime industry in Norway. At the beginning of 2020, the industry counted more than 90,000 employees. That is almost 4,000 more than the low point following the fall in oil prices in 2017, but it is still almost 10,000 fewer than the high point of 2014.

The highest number of employees is found in Rogaland and Vestland, and these are also the counties with highest value creation. The two municipalities accounted for more than half of value creation in the maritime industry in 2020.

In March 2020, the corona pandemic and a lower oil price reversed optimism in the industry. Now, however, it seems that the pandemic did not hit as hard as feared, and that things have generally gone well in the maritime industry. Value creation for 2021 is estimated at NOK 154 billion, in line with 2020. The number of employees also appears to be at the same level as the previous year.

Key figures for 2021 indicate that the industry as a whole did not experience growth from 2020. The stagnation can be attributed to many different factors, but there are some that stand out: the order books for offshore and cruise will be emptied by 2022, cruise tourism has not yet picked up, and corona measures in Norway and in other countries prolonged the effect of the corona pandemic on the maritime industry in 2021. On the other hand, rising freight rates, high oil prices and large investments in offshore wind indicate that growth will pick up in the coming years.

Source: Maritimt Forum/Menon Economics 

Significant possibilities in new markets

Norwegian shipowners and maritime companies have been technology leaders for many years. Among other things, they are central to the advanced technological development of the oil and gas industry. Specialized vessels, positioning systems and control systems are examples of areas where Norwegian industry is a leader. Norwegian maritime companies use technology and expertise from, among others, the offshore industry to establish themselves in new markets. This knowledge transfer is crucial for success in other maritime industries.

The market for floating offshore wind is an area where Norwegian companies see opportunities and can take the lead. Several companies have already invested in both vessels and technology to position themselves in this market. In the years to come, further opportunities will open up for production of renewable energy, increased food production and the harvesting of other natural resources such as minerals and medicines. Here, too, Norwegian companies have the opportunity to take a leading position.