Today the Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic presents an analysis of the future for coexistence among Norwegian maritime industries. Based on major drivers such as climate change and digitisation, it shows four possible pathways for development of existing and novel industries through 2040.

“The maritime nation of Norway has an ambition to increase enterprise in the sea. Existing industries should evolve, and new enterprises take form,” says Jan-Gunnar Winther, director of Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic.

“In this context it is important to avoid situations where the level of conflict increases. The report indicates how we can strengthen cooperation between maritime industries in a world being transformed by climate change, digitisation, the green shift, and crises.”

The analysis was presented at Husøy on the island of Senja, in the presence of Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

“Activity in the sea is increasing,” says Ingebrigtsen. “Norway has several important maritime industries, and we must ensure that they can exist side by side. This report provides useful knowledge about how we can strengthen dialogue and cooperation between these players, and about the challenges we may face in the future.”

New technology and data sharing can improve coexistence

The report shows that digitisation and new technology are likely to facilitate coexistence. With new opportunities to obtain real-time data on the seas and commercial activities there, resource management will become more transparent and adaptable. Many of the current conflicts between maritime enterprises arise because of disagreements about the knowledge base. In a few years, access to reliable real-time data can lead to fewer misconceptions. That translates into greater acceptance of policy decisions and regulations by all the marine industries.

Oil and gas drive technological development

A prerequisite is continued strong development of technology, and the oil and gas industries are strong drivers in this context. In all four scenarios, the activity level of these industries declines, with varying rapidity. With a lower growth rate in the oil and gas industries, it will be crucial to transfer and further develop technology and ensure that expertise does not disappear from the maritime industries. The report emphasises that it is imperative for Norwegian maritime industries to maintain their international competitiveness. It also predicts that regardless of the scenario, these industries will continue to dominate value creation in 2040. That said, in all scenarios, offshore wind is the industry with the largest relative growth rate.

Harder to coexist in times of crisis

The report also presents a crisis scenario, not unlike the covid-19 pandemic we are currently facing. The pandemic has shown that maritime industries are vulnerable to changes in global economy, which also affect their ability to coexist. Reduced demand abroad leads to reduced growth and less cooperation between commercial enterprises here at home.

The world around us is expected to see more conflict and uncertainty in the future. This makes trust and communication between Norwegian maritime industries even more important to ensure good coexistence, the report concludes.

Solutions coming in the next report

This future analysis is based on a broad survey of the status of coexistence among Norwegian maritime industries, and is the second of three reports on the topic. The next report will address practical solutions that ensure coexistence and sustainability. The reports are produced by Menon Economics and SINTEF Ocean on behalf of Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic.