Historical archive

Green shipping - blue business

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Climate and Environment

Opening address by Minister Ola Elvestuen at the ASEM Conference on Green Shipping, Blue Business, Moving Forward Together, in Singapore April 26th 2018.

Ministers, Excellencies, distinguished delegates!

Together, Europe and Asia represent 60 percent of the global population,

60 percent of the global production -

and 60 percent of the global trade.

We are natural partners, and shipping is a key to our partnership. As green shipping will be a key to our partnership in the coming years.

For more than 20 years, leaders from 53 countries and institutional partners from Europe and Asia have gathered to address the world's challenges. We call this the Asia-Europe meeting. Under this wide umbrella we are gathered here today.

This Conference – "Green Shipping - Blue Business – Moving Forward Together" is at the core of the Asia-Europe agenda.

It is about challenges –

It is about cooperation and partnerships –

It is about opportunities.

Organizers of the Conference are the Philippines, Germany, Singapore and Norway. We have benefitted from our many years of cooperation on maritime issues.

We are excited on the Conference Program.


In the early days of shipping – the challenge was to navigate, arrive safely and learn to understand the nature of the oceans, its currents, tides and waves. After leaving a port the ship was out of sight – on her own. She could not be traced.

Today, a ship in trade between Singapore and Oslo in Norway will need 28 days to arrive safely. Arriving safely is still the number one priority – and we are certain she will. The ship is not out of sight during these 28 days.

She can be traced. We can all monitor her voyage on our computer. Maritime authorities will check the global environmental standards. Today – the systems, technologies, people and knowledge involved in shipping can meet any challenge.

The ship sailing from Singapore to Oslo is one of 55.000 ships in service for global trade. Reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and ocean pollution is a fundamental challenge. A challenge we all need to arrive safely on. We must reduce the total environmental footprint of international shipping and global trade.

It is a matter of how.

It is also a matter of how to couple the oceans as source for increased economic development, with the need for clean and healthy oceans. Therefore, the Norwegian Prime Minster, Erna Solberg, has taken the initiative to establish an international High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

The Prime Minister is leading the panel herself. She has reached out to Heads of Governments from several coastal states across the world, and they have joined in.

The overall objective is how responsible ocean management can help us to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel's final report will be presented in 2020.

Developing the policies for a sustainable ocean economy is an important part of the work. A milestone will be the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo in October next year.


Some say oceans divide – we say oceans unite. Throughout history, ships on the oceans have connected people and cultures. They have carried food and goods.

Over 80 per cent of global trade by volume and more than 70 per cent of its value are being carried on board ships and handled by seaports worldwide. This unites us. The importance of maritime transport for trade and development is huge.

Likewise, the global cooperation among governments on maritime transportation at the International Maritime Organization IMO is of utmost importance. The global framework on safety, security and environmental protection developed is fundamental.

Norway has always been strong in our support and contribution to the IMO. We see a need to strengthen the key role of the IMO further. Especially on the many environmental challenges shipping need to respond to. We need firm and effective actions from the IMO as global regulator for shipping and continued support to Technical co-operation.

Therefore, I am pleased, and honoured that Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim is here to address the Conference. I look forward to his speech.

As a Minister of Climate and Environment I want to congratulate the IMO with the agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. It's a milestone achievement.  A clear proof of the high level of understanding and willingness for cooperation by the IMO Member States.  I am very pleased with the outcome, and Norway look forward to cooperating with the IMO on the follow-up.


This agreement represents challenges and opportunities.  I want to share with you some experiences in developing green shipping in Norway. Green shipping no doubt creates good business.

In the year 2000 the first LNG powered vessel – a ferry – was delivered in Norway. Now 250 vessels are in operation or on order globally. New IMO requirements on air pollution has increased the interest. The shipping industry, engine producers, bunkers suppliers and IMO have overcome the barriers for this fuel.

In 2015 the world's first all-electric car and passenger vessel  -  named Ampere  - was put into service in a Norwegian fjord. It was quickly demonstrated that electrification of car ferries was indeed a possibility, and a more efficient solution. Today, more than 60 battery electric or hybrid-electric Norwegian car ferries are either in operation, on order or in the planning.

On the global scale, more than 240 vessels with batteries are either already sailing or are on order. Batteries as a part of a low emission solution has become the standard, since batteries enable vessels to use energy in a smarter way. It is not only for ferries any more. Ferries and passenger vessels, offshore vessels and coastal shipping realise the benefits of battery hybrid technology.

Several battery producers and energy system providers have established facilities in Norway. Norway is becoming a hub for maritime battery hybrid technology. Not only Norwegian companies, but also the global company Siemens and the Canadian company Corvus Energy are well established in Norway. Companies compete, but also cooperate through the Maritime Battery Forum to further develop and promote use of batteries in the maritime sector.

The pioneer vessel Ampere has now travelled a distance equivalent to four times round the earth.

Hydrogen is our next chapter of zero emission fuels and technologies. Several projects are in the pipeline. In 2021, we will have a car ferry with hydrogen-electric propulsion. The ferry will be operated by minimum 50 percent hydrogen. The project will contribute to development of rules and regulation for maritime use of hydrogen. If the project gives the expected results, the Norwegian ferry fleet will have zero emission technologies by the early 2030’s.

These three examples demonstrate that pilot projects are needed in the change towards green shipping. These pilot projects open a large menu of opportunities. They play an important role as large scale laboratories for the maritime industry.

This development has been possible because of policy decisions taken by the government. We have national emission reduction targets as well as specific policies for the introduction of zero- and low emission technologies in domestic shipping.

We have identified possible barriers and are working together with a wide range of stakeholders in order to resolve them. We have introduced effective tools to cater for the introduction of green shipping.  In short, it consists of a combination of requirements, grant schemes and economic incentives.

And finally – we have a well-established private-public partnership. This is important for succeeding in green shipping and creating the blue business on that route of transition.

Leaving Oslo I was very much looking forward to this Conference. The program demonstrates that ASEM provides for leaders and experts to meet on main challenges.

Landing in Singapore, I was impressed by the scale of the shipping activity. The entire world takes part in the trade taking place in the port of Singapore.

We are at the perfect place to investigate the opportunities of moving forward together:  Create green shipping and blue business.

Thank you for your attention!