Maritime industry big in the north

The maritime industry is the fourth largest industry in Northern Norway, a new study by Norut Narvik shows.

The maritime industry is the fourth largest industry in Northern Norway, a new study by Norut Narvik shows.

The study quantifies the industry’s value in Northern Norway. The maritime industry in this region employs more than 9000 people and accounts for seven percent of added value (labour costs plus operating result).

There are more than 1200 small and large maritime companies in Northern Norway, and these companies had a combined turnover in 2007 of more than NOK 13 billion.

Shipping companies are not surprisingly the largest company grouping, with Hurtigruten the largest single company. Shipping companies in Northern Norway employed a total of 3400 people.

Finance crisis
The report was completed on May 22. Although individual companies have been hit hard by the finance crisis, the industry as a whole expresses an optimistic view about the immediate future.

Job numbers remain stable. Fifteen percent of the companies increased staffing levels in 2008, compared to just six percent which reduced the number of staff.

Signals from the industry indicate that the turnover increased in 2008 and that this increase is continuing in 2009.

Potential for growth
The study points out that the maritime industry as a cluster is relatively weak in Northern Norway. The industry has not achieved the collaboration mechanisms which a strong cluster entails.

In Northern Norway, the industry’s growth rate in recent years of 20 percent is relatively weak when viewed in relation to the 90 percent growth rate during the same period on a national basis.

The report concludes with several possible growth areas. With increasing activity within oil and gas in the High North, there will be a clear potential for maritime operations connected with the petroleum operations.

One of the largest challenges facing the maritime industry in Northern Norway in the years ahead will be access to knowledge and competence.

The report, which was compiled by Norut Narvik and Menon Business Economics, was commissioned by the Maritime Forum of Northern Norway. The National Committee for Northern Norway and North Trøndelag, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association have made financial contributions to the study.