Every day, several hundred Norwegian ships call at European ports. These transport about 85 percent of all goods to and from Norway.
In recent years, a unified Parliament has shown great willingness to facilitate the transfer of goods from land to sea. Thirty percent of road transport exceeding 300 km will be transferred to sea and rail by 2030.
This transfer of goods will result in, among other things, reduced climate emissions, less road wear, fewer accidents and major socio-economic gains. In order to achieve the objective, measures must be implemented that strengthen the relative competitiveness of maritime transport.
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Fees and charges must be reduced and simplified
Seaborne transport is the only mode of transport affected by almost all costs associated with infrastructure and emergency preparedness. This is a competitive disadvantage that does not impact other modes of transport. Fees can be reduced with more efficient operation of pilotage service, and co-location of maritime traffic centers and the pilotage coordination service. This will strengthen the competitiveness of shipping and help move more goods from land to sea. A realistic goal should be to halve the tax burden on the industry by the end of 2030.
In addition to the fee burden being greater, the tax regime for maritime transport is also much more comprehensive than for, among others, road transport. Seaborne transport has more than twice as many fees and charges as road transport. Therefore, the tax regime must be simplified to ensure fewer and lower overall charges for maritime transport.
The incentive scheme for freight transfer must be revised and strengthened
Revision and strengthening of the incentive scheme for freight transfer is necessary to achieve Parliament’s goals. The scheme provides grants to create new routes that take freight off the roads and over to sea. Allocations to the scheme must be increased.
The feedback from our members is that both the amount of support for individual shipping companies and the total allocation from the state budget are too low to trigger significant new projects. The current amount of support in the scheme is limited to the socio-economic benefit of the presumed transfer of goods for the first three years.
Experience with the scheme shows that this limitation makes it challenging to realize significant projects with large freight volumes, as the cost of establishing a new offering in very many cases exceeds the amount of support.
The National Transport Plan must be adhered to
Parliament has pointed out the need for appropriations exceeding the National Transport Plan in order to achieve the established freight transfer targets. Despite this, the state budget for 2022 proposes that maritime transport receive the lowest level of support between road, rail and sea.
This follows a pattern that has taken hold over the last 12 years, where the actual allocations in state budgets have been below or far below the state framework as outlined in the NTP. In contrast, actual allocations for rail and road have been consistently higher than proposed in the NTP.
Call to action:
- Fees and charges for maritime transport must be reduced and simplified in order to strengthen the competitiveness of maritime transport
- The pilotage service must be streamlined and modernized, among other things by developing more robust and high-tech environments, as well as continuing to facilitate increased use of pilot exemption certificates.
- The incentive scheme for transfer of freight from road to sea must be revised and strengthened
- The National Transport Plan must be adhered to