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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hurtigruten faces competition

Norway’s famed coastal shipping line Hurtigruten has plied the waters from Bergen north to Kirkenes for decades but now may get some competition from a huge French transport company.

Hurtigruten is best known for its scenic cruises along the Norwegian coast. PHOTO: Hurtigruten

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported recently that Veolia Transport of France signaled its interest in bidding for the coastal route late last month and state officials extended the deadline for bids until October 29.

Veolia entered the Norwegian market in the late 1990s and now operates bus lines, ferry lines and high-speed vessels. The local unit, Veolia Transport Norge, is part of the international concern with 81,000 employees active in the public transport sector in 30 countries.

In Norway they already transport around 18 million passengers annually and now seem keen on the coastal voyage that attracts both Norwegians and foreign tourists. European competition authorities have put some pressure on the Norwegian officials, calling for real competition, while some maritime players have claimed that the current bidding structure seems to favour Hurtigruten, since there are few ships apart from Hurtigruten’s own fleet, that meet state criteria for the route.

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