“Norway has taken a leading role in the green shift within shipping. With our global organisation and network, Wilhelmsen can be a driving force in bringing new solutions out to the rest of the world,” says Per Brinchmann in Wilhelmsen group – one of NCE Maritime CleanTech’s newest member.

Founded in 1861, Wilhelmsen has grown from a Norwegian shipping company to a maritime industrial group operating the largest maritime network on the planet. From over 2 200 locations worldwide 21,000 employees, among them 9,200 seafarers, deliver market-leading products and services to over half of the world’s merchant fleet. These include supplies of crew and technical management to the biggest and most complex vessels currently at sea. The group annually transports 63.7 million tonnes of cargo, handles 75,000 port calls, and delivers 210,000 products from a portfolio of 2,300 marine products.

Active in shaping tomorrow’s maritime industry
“Our ambition is to shape the maritime industry for the future, taking an active role by consistently developing innovative, customer-focused and sustainable solutions. Testing drones to deliver spare parts to ships on anchor, is one example. Our subsidiary Massterly’s work on autonomous shipping is another. And through our investments, Wilhelmsen is also exploring new opportunities, with new partners, within the renewable energy, alternative fuels, offshore and technology industries,” says Marius Steen, Communication Manager in Wilhelmsen.

After previously viewing NCE Maritime CleanTech as a mainly western Norwegian initiative, the Oslo-headquartered group has followed the cluster with growing interest – until deciding to join in February 2020.

“With our ambitions within the green shift of shipping we see that several of our companies can benefit from closer contact with the cluster’s members. Our participation was furtherly actualised by Wilhelmsen’s involvement in a Pilot-E funded project with BKK, Equinor, NCE Maritime CleanTech and others to develop a supply chain for hydrogen to the maritime industry, as well as the cluster administration’s willingness to facilitate an upcoming EU application for another environmental project of ours,” Per Brinchmann, Vice President Special Projects in Wilhelmsen, elaborates.

“We have a role in zero-emission shipping”
Decarbonising the world’s shipping fleet is one of the maritime giant’s key focus areas for the green shift.

“We believe Wilhelmsen has a role to play in zero emission shipping. Although being rooted in the deep-sea segment, we acknowledge that the technology shifts en route to zero emissions will come first within short-sea shipping. This makes it important for us to be active also on these arenas, learning about new technologies and having access to experiences and results before we partner up to bring new solutions into deep-sea shipping,” Brinchmann says.

“You can’t lift an entire industry alone, and for us NCE Maritime CleanTech will be a good meeting place where we can establish relationships and discuss ideas with many important players. That the cluster also has a well-functioning and pro-active administration, capable of supporting its members, is yet another plus as we see it,” he adds.

Decarbonised logistics
Steen highlights NorSea Group, a subsidiary providing supply bases and integrated logistics solutions to the energy industry, as another example of Wilhelmsen’s initiatives to reach climate targets set for 2030 and 2050.

“NorSea Group plays an important part in the oil and gas industry’s collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and has several ongoing projects aimed at delivering zero-emission services from our nine bases around the North Sea basin. These projects include everything from electrical trucks to the use of hydrogen and solar panels as energy sources at our bases. In addition, NorSea Group also focuses heavily on renewable offshore wind and is looking into other sustainable revenue streams,” Steen explains.

A driving force with strong financial muscles
Both he and Brinchmann are confident that Wilhelmsen will be a strong contributor to NCE Maritime CleanTech.

“Norway has taken a leading role in the green shift within shipping. With our truly global organisation and network, Wilhelmsen can be a driving force in bringing new solutions – both our own and others’ – out to the rest of the world when the time is right,” Brinchmann says, adding:

“Wilhelmsen has also demonstrated strong financial muscles and willingness to use them to realise and commercialise new solutions we believe in. For the right projects or solutions, we will consider financial support, partnerships or even friendly acquisitions. We want to make things happen!