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Maritime freight is losing ground to road transport

​Freight transport by sea is losing ground to road transport, at odds with the goal of transporting more by sea. - There are still major challenges linked to promoting sea transport, says Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss.

Published 5/22/2014 12:30 PM

Document 3:8 (2013–2014) The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of the central government's coastal zone administration's efforts to increase the share of maritime freight transport was submitted to the Storting on 22 May 2014.

The audit shows that the share of domestic freight transport by sea has been declining over the last five years, in spite of the goal for freight growth to shift from land to sea in order to reduce problems associated with the environment, land use and traffic safety.

- The Ministry of Transport and Communications, which is now responsible for coastal zone administration, should consider how it can help reach this goal, says the Auditor General.

Unfixed goals

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (previously the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs) has not communicated the freight goal in its allocation letter to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Ministry has not requested reporting on the goal, and the Norwegian Coastal Administration does not mention it in its annual reports. No system has been established for sound management and follow-up of the goal of shifting freight from road to sea.

- The Ministry should facilitate better cooperation between the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the other transport agencies. In collaboration with the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Ministry should place greater emphasis on improving management information as regards the development in maritime freight, says the Auditor General.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration should further develop its role as a transport agency and ensure that maritime freight's competitiveness is strengthened in line with the national transport priorities.

Clear weaknesses

The audit also shows that a lack of capacity in socio-economic analyses has been a recurring theme between the Ministry and the Norwegian Coastal Administration, in spite of the allocation of extra funds to strengthen expertise in this field.

- This may have led to the agency's lack of success in the process surrounding the National Transport Plan, with the result that the freight goal was not adequately emphasised in the overall planning, Foss concludes.

Projects initiated

The Minister of Transport and Communications states in his reply to the OAG that, following the presentation of the new National Transport Plan, projects and development work have been initiated which are largely in line with the OAG's recommendations, and which may contribute to solving the key challenges.

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