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Incentives to shippers in Norway

Date: 15/06/2016

A major item in th​e agreement between the political parties in Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament, is temporary incentives to stimulate shippers to shift cargo from road to sea. The Parliament's transport and communications committee has decided the following:

​The Parliament refers to previous decisions on incentives to encourage shift of cargo from road to sea. The Parliament asks the government to make concrete propals in the state budget for 2017 to stimulate shippers and cargo owners to choose more transport by sea.

In addition, a new national shortsea strategy is intended to reduce handling costs in port, an​d review the current tax and duty regime for shortsea transport. This will result in lower transport costs for cargo owners and thereby make maritime transport more attractive.

Borregaard, a Norwegian industry group, has received a similar support from EU to reorganization their transport from road to sea. From the now terminated Marco Polo program they received a fixed amount per tonne-kilometre cargo transferred from road to sea over a period of three years. A Norwegian scheme could be similar to this, but it is important to simplify administration and to prevent that the scheme distorts competition between transport providers.

The incentives granted to shippers must follow EU regulation, otherwise they can be stopped by ESA, the supervisory agency for the trade agreement between Norway and the EU. ESA ensures that such arrangements do not change the competitive landscape. Also Italy, France, Spain and Portugal are working on similar incentives for transport buyers.

- The most important thing we need to do is to strengthen the profitability of sea transport, because we know that this determines if cargo owners choose this mode of transport for their cargo. If more transport customers switch to sea, the unit costs will fall and freight lines that were unprofitable becomes profitable, says Helge Orten (from Høyre, the ruling Norwegian Conservative Party).

 
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