Norwegian flag hits ten year high

  • Published: 07/02/2018

At the end of January, 600 ships were registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS). This is the highest number of ships in the register since 2008.

Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Mr Olav Akselsen
Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Mr Olav Akselsen, hoisting the Norwegian flag during a previous flag change seremony.
PHOTO: Helga Maria Sulen Sund/Sjøfartsdirektoratet

“We are one of the world’s leading maritime nations and have long and proud traditions within shipping. I’m glad that we have managed to turn the negative trend around, so that more shipping companies want to fly the Norwegian flag. This shows that our maritime policy is working”, says the Minister of Trade and Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (The Conservative Party of Norway).

“A large Norwegian fleet is important in order to secure jobs and our maritime competence”, says the Minister.

Up until 2015, the ship register was characterised by decline. In 2014, there were 522 ships in the NIS.

In their maritime strategy, the Government presented several measures in order to reverse the negative trend. Among other things, the Government has relaxed the trade area restrictions for NIS-registered ships and strengthened the grant scheme for the employment of Norwegian seafarers.  

As many as 54 of the ships which have been transferred to the NIS since 1 January 2016 can be directly linked to the trade area changes.

“This is good news for the entire maritime industry in Norway, and with increased tonnage we also have more influence in international maritime forums. A growing fleet may also provide opportunities for Norwegian seafarers”, says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Olav Akselsen.

The gross tonnage of the NIS-registered fleet is now over 15 million, which is an increase of 14.3 per cent since 2014.



About the NOR and NIS

Norway has two ship registers: the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register (NOR) and the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS).

  • The NIS was established in 1987 in order to ensure a competitive alternative for Norwegian companies in worldwide trade.
  • Based on most of the Trade Limitation Committee's recommendations and as a follow-up of the Government's maritime strategy, the trade area provisions for ships in the NIS were amended in 2016. NIS-registered ships may now carry cargo between Norwegian ports as part of a European route, and NIS-registered construction vessels may operate on the Norwegian continental shelf.
  • The amendments to the trade area provisions for NIS-registered ferries engaged on foreign voyages were temporarily postponed awaiting a case decision from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). In November 2017, ESA concluded that the trade area restrictions in the NIS are not in contravention of the EEA Agreement.
  • Since the amendments to the trade area provisions entered into force in January 2016, the number of ships in the NIS has increased from 535 to 604. So far, it is assumed that 54 of the ships transferred to the NIS as a direct result of the trade area amendments. The number of ships in the NOR is around the same as ten years ago.
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