Maritime CleanTech CEO Ada Martine Jakobsen with electric ferries on the quay in Oslo. Photo credit: Marius Knutsen / Maritime CleanTech

Zero-emissions requirements in public tenders have played a key role in building a market for clean technology solutions in the maritime sector. Worryingly, due to political inaction, tenders are now increasingly being issued without such requirements.

In an interview with NRK, Maritime CleanTech CEO Ada Martine Jakobsen demanded political action to remedy the situation. Read the story in NRK and hear the radio interview (in Norwegian).

Since 2015, Norway has been at the forefront of the zero-emission ferry revolution, pioneering the electrification of its passenger ferries. The key to this success has been the inclusion of zero-emission requirements in public tenders, spurring innovation and adoption of clean technologies across the maritime sector.

However, despite these advancements, a significant portion of the fleet remains reliant on fossil fuels. Alarmingly, public tenders are still being issued without mandates for low- or zero-emission solutions.

At least six such tenders have been issued during the last six months while county municipalities wait for updated regulations and cost compensation from the national government.

For many years, politicians have promised to ensure all new ferry tenders include zero-emission mandates and compensate county municipalities for increased costs. Yet the government is still dragging its feet on implementing new regulations.

“The zero-emission ferry revolution must not be allowed to falter. We have made incredible progress but cannot rest on our laurels. The time is overripe for zero-emissions requirements in all ferry contracts,” says Ada Martine Jakobsen, CEO of Maritime CleanTech.

“Our experience in Norway has shown that clear and firm requirements in public tenders are essential. Without these, we risk stalling the progress we have worked so hard to achieve, just as the industry seeks to scale up its solutions and reach new markets.”

In addition to electric ferries, public tenders have resulted in the world’s first hydrogen ferry, MF “Hydra”. Two larger hydrogen ferries and the first autonomous ferries are coming in 2026.

“The technology being developed for the ferry sector, such as battery systems, battery swapping, and hydrogen solutions, could play an important role in decarbonising other segments – including offshore, short-sea, and deep-sea vessels,” Jakobsen says.

See also: Norway’s Toughest Ferry Route Takes on Hydrogen – Maritime CleanTech