Towards a greener maritime industry – a governmental perspective

Innlegg ved statssekretær Dilek Ayhan på Singapore Maritime Week, 8.april 2014

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Ladies and gentlemen!

A good afternoon to you all!


Though I have travelled half way around the world - I still have a homecoming feeling. Singapore is Norway’s first port of call in South East Asia.

The partnership between our nations has allowed for a wide spectrum of cooperation, encompassing trade, investment, research and student exchanges.

We cooperate in sectors of strategic importance to both countries. Singapore’s recent accession to the Arctic Council and Norway’s partnership with ASEAN add an important political dimension to our longstanding economic ties.

But the perhaps most recognisable feature and the backbone of the relations between Norway and Singapore are our ties to the ocean.

That is why - for a long time - our economic relations have mostly focused on maritime and offshore activities.

It is estimated that a third of the world’s trade passes through the straits of Singapore, and more than 120,000 ships call at Singapore every year. Many of them are Norwegian.

One of the largest Norwegian business communities abroad is found in Singapore, and most of the companies are from the maritime segment.


This shows the strong economic relations between Norway and Singapore, and the important role Singapore has as a maritime hub.

But not only that, it illustrates how global the maritime sector is.

Beyond doubt, the shipping industry is fundamental to international trade and the world economy.

Global seaborne trade has more than doubled since 1990.

Seaborne trade follows the global economic centre of gravity.

And as the Asia-Pacific region has been the driver of growth over the past decade, this is also where we find the largest growth in seaborne trade.


Opportunities in shipping are global - but so are the challenges.

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.

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

Through innovation and international cooperation, Norwegian and Singaporean 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 Singapore to stay ahead as leading maritime nations we should lead, not follow in making maritime transport greener.  


Consider liquefied natural gas – LNG. 

  • As a maritime fuel, LNG eliminates SOx- and particle emissions.
  • It reduces NOx-emissions by 90 percent; and
  • as an added bonus, CO2-emissions are cut up to 20 percent.

Today, there are more than 45 LNG- fuelled vessels operating in Norwegian water. By 2015, Norway will have a fleet of more than 90 LNG-fuelled vessels.

It tells us that the industry considers that LNG has operational cost-advantages and can be a viable option. It explains why Norway and Singapore holds LNG-fuelling to be a good future-oriented alternative.

This is confirmed in various studies, such as in the scenario report “Deep Sea Shipping towards 2030” by DNV GL for the Norwegian Shippowners Association.

I must say that I am very impressed with the steps Singapore has taken to make more use of LNG for power generation. I am convinced that the LNG play in Singapore will also enable Singapore to offer LNG bunkering possibilities. That has the potential to be a real game changer for the maritime industry.

The Norwegian example also tells us that an active policy also matters. Requirements in public bids for ferry transportation services and mechanisms such as the Nox-fund have been important contributors in making Norway a maritime LNG-nation.


LNG is just one of many areas which will be discussed today. Needless to say: initiatives both at a national level, but also from the maritime industry itself, are crucial in order to achieve more environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient shipping.

But after all, environmental issues and climate change are global challenges – they require global solutions.

As a result, Singapore-Norwegian maritime contacts are fast becoming more relevant and important – on every level.

One important reason for my visit to Singapore is the follow-up of the Memorandum of Understanding between the MPA and The Norwegian research Council.

This important agreement opens for a close collaboration in research and innovation between our two countries. We would like the research collaboration to run even deeper, because we agree that innovation and change are the key to our continued success as maritime nations. Some keywords for this cooperation are sustainable shipping, reduced emissions and fuel consumption, the use of LNG, simulators, modern shipping services and ship recycling.

With this as a backdrop, I see this as a significant seminar for many reasons:

  • First and foremost, our maritime industries share the characteristic of being in the global technological forefront.
  • Just as the maritime industry has been a key component of Singapore’s economy, so too has maritime technology and innovation been drivers for growth and prosperity in many parts of Norway. 
  • This seminar also reflects that we are ever more interdependent.

We should make more use of our maritime industries’ strengths and complementarities for mutual gains.

Combining Singapore-Norwegian experiences, competences, and, not least, technologies provide us with a chance of strengthening our competiveness and making a stronger global impact. 


On a final note, let me once again thank the organisers, and also all the participants for taking part in this seminar.

Coming together in a setting like this reveals that many issues have become relevant for discussion. This is how it should be.

I believe that making the most of today’s seminar will help to maximise the potential of our maritime opportunities. I would like to wish you the best of luck in achieving this aim. 

Thank you for your attention!