The Norwegian Shipowner's Association, which was founded in 1909 is a trade organization representing Norwegian companies engaged in the shipping and offshore industries.
Norway is one of the very few countries which has a complete, all-encompassing maritime industrial environment, including shipowners, brokers, banks, shipyards, a classification society, maritime research, design and engineering, specialized law firms, marine insurers and underwriters.
A recent research project concluded that this "cluster" of related enterprises is the most internationally competitive environment in the country, along with the offshore oil industry. The maritime sector accounts for 15 percent of Norway's total exports.
The mainstay of the maritime industry is shipping, that is shipowning or operating companies. Norwegian companies own and/or operate some 1,400 vessels which total 48 million deadweight tons. 75 percent of these vessels fly the Norwegian flag. The Norwegian controlled fleet represents approximately 10 percent of the world's total merchant fleet, and makes Norway one of the four largest shipping nations in the world.
In some areas of the market, Norway's relative position is stronger than what the gross average figures indicate. This is especially the case in trades which require relatively complex, specialized vessels. For example, Norwegian companies control approximately:
Norway is also one of the leading nations in the offshore oil industry. The fleet of 200 offshore service vessels supply, seismic, pipe-laying and other service vessels which is the second largest in the world. In addition to this, there are 75 mobile offshore units, i.e. jack-up and semi-submersible rigs, which operate in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Far East.
- 23 percent of the world's cruise vessels
- 19 percent of the world's gas carriers
- 19 percent of the world's chemical tankers and
- 10.5 percent of the world's crude oil tankers.
More than 90 percent of the Norwegian fleet is engaged in cross-trading, that is, trading outside of Norwegian waters, for example by carrying crude oil from the Middle East to Europe, or carrying motor vehicles from Japan to the US.
Need for new tonnage.
The increasing age of the world's merchant fleet is widely recognized as a major problem, both in terms of safety and as an environmental hazard. With an average age of just over 12 years, the Norwegian fleet is younger than the worlds average, but there is nevertheless a need for tonnage renewal. In financial terms, the neccesary upgrading and renewal of the Norwegian fleet is estimated to come to some NOK 150 billion (USD 20 bn) over the next five years.