Norway’s famous coastal shipping route will be shared by 2 operators from 2021, as part of a move by state transport ministry to stimulate competition.
Hurtigruten has long had a concession to operate all the vessels serving the entire route, with its ships sailing north from Bergen to Kirkenes every day of the year, obligated to visit 34 ports during the 11-day roundtrip cruise, carrying both travelers, vehicles and other cargo.
Recently, the state transport ministry decided to split up the eleven daily routes so that other players could participate. 3 contracts were put up for bid, 2 were granted to Hurtigruten and 1 to Havila, which is part of Havila Shipping company headquartered in Fosnavag, Sunnmore.
Hurtigruten and Havila will now alternate departure days for the route from Bergen to Kirkenes. Hurtigruten will continue sailing every day and there is likely to be 2 departures on the days Havila plies the route. Hurtigturen will not be obliged to visit all ports when it is not operating a licensed route.
The ships sailing from 2021 will meet stricter demands for low emissions. The Havila company is building 4 new ships to serve the route, while Hurtigruten line will be refitting 7 of its ships to meet stricter emissions requirements.
Hurtigruten will continue to serve the entire route until 2020 with the new contracts granted to both Havila and Hurtigruten running from 2021 through 2030.