Seminar on smart shipping

Innlegg ved statssekretær Dilek Ayhan, Tokyo 11.april 2014

*Check against delivery*

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Ohayou gozaimasu [Åhaiåå gådsaimas], good morning.


First of all I would like to thank the Norwegian Embassy for hosting this interesting seminar.

This is my third day in beautiful and interesting Japan.

One thing I have learned during the visit is how the relations between our countries are blossoming like the beautiful cherry trees.

The relations between Japan and Norway span in a wide area from fisheries, research and technology to sharing knowledge about gender equality.


But what is perhaps the strongest foundation of our relations are our ties to sea and our maritime industries:

  • Our maritime cooperation dates back to the 1850s, when Norwegian ships started to sail to Japan.
  • We signed the first maritime agreement back in 1957.  
  • And three years ago,  our maritime collaboration was further strengthened as Japan and Norway signed a Memorandum on cooperation in the field of maritime technology and industry.

The memorandum opens up for closer cooperation on important issues like: LNG, offshore wind, the Arctic, ship recycling, and promotion of environmentally friendly maritime technology.

The commercial maritime relations between our two countries have continued to develop.

Over the last years, more Norwegian maritime related companies have established themselves in Japan, and likewise Japanese companies have established themselves in Norway.

This manifests that the maritime clusters of Japan and Norway are more complementary than competitive.


This is something I experienced with my own eyes when I visited the SeaJapan-exhibition, where many Norwegian companies were represented.

It shows that Japan’s high-tech industry combined with Norway’s advanced maritime sector is a good combination for success.

There are several developments which strengthens this impression:

  • In January Kawasaki Heavy Industries received an order for a vessel from the Norwegian operator Island Offshore.This is it first time a Japanese shipyard has won an order for a supply vessel in the tough Northern European market. 
  • Another interesting development is what happens in the Arctic- an area of interest for both Norway and Japan – as the melting of the sea ice shortens the sailing distance between our countries. 
  • Let me also mention our constructive cooperation in the International Maritime Organization. This includes work on binding regulations for the Arctic-through the Polar Code, but also on regulations relating to green and smart shipping.

I believe development of green technologies and environmental regulations go hand in hand – with results such as LNG as fuel for ships, technologies for ballast water treatment, and not least, the energy efficiency indexes on ship design and operations.

Compared to other modes of transport, shipping is the most energy-efficient.

However, in dealing with environmental issues and climate change, there is always room for improvement.


The case of Japan and Norway show that opportunities in shipping are global - but so are the challenges.

That is why:

  • We need binding international regulations.
  • We need a common understanding of maintaining and enforcing these new regulations.
  • And we need cleaner ships, greener shipping infrastructure and, what will be main topic today: more sustainable, hence smarter operations.

Through innovation and international cooperation, Norwegian and Japanese companies – and research institutions – are doing their best to help reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

And the common denominator for clean shipping is this: It is good for the environment, but at the same time, it is good business. The focus on emissions and fuel costs is here to stay. For Norway and Japan to stay ahead as leading maritime nations we should lead, not follow in making maritime transport greener and smarter. 


The shipping industry has, some say a well-deserved, reputation for being conservative. Analysis shows that many environmental initiatives – that are profitable – are not being implemented.

But at the same time I believe that our traditions and know-how are crucial to develop the maritime sector in a sustainable manner.

Japan and Norway are two such traditional, but innovative maritime nations.

The winners of this green revolution will surely be winners of the 21st century global economy.


Today’s seminar is important for many reasons:


First and foremost, it will give you the ship owner’s perspective on smart shipping, to the wide range of operational measures, from training to technology, to reduce energy consumption.

The second reason is that Japanese-Norwegian cooperation may continue to expand into new areas with a green growth potential in the years to come. Leading Norwegian maritime technology and service providers will present themeselves today.

And finally, it promotes personal contact and expansion of networks between Japanese and Norwegian companies.


Ladies and gentlemen!

I wish you a pleasant and productive seminar.

Domo arigato gozaimashita [dååmåå arigatåå gåzai masjta]

Thank you.