Norway is a particularly interesting country in that it has a very personal connection to the sea, as many of its communities are interspersed between deep fjords or among the bold, rocky islands that dot the surrounding waters. For anything to move in Norway, at least within a reasonable amount of time, it absolutely must come via boat or ferry, but this is just something the Norwegians have dealt with for hundreds of years. Their connection to the sea is very much a part of their identity and as such they are very supportive of their maritime industry.
Working in Norway’s maritime industry almost assuredly means you’re a member of the Maritimt Forum (maritime forum), or “cluster” of member companies in the various municipalities around Norway.
While in Haugesund last week, I met up with Sverre Meling who heads up the Maritime Forum in the Haugaland and Sunnhordland regions, a group with about 140 member companies.
Meling notes the Maritime Forum in Norway works with their different regional chapters to ensure the issues that are important to their member companies are visible amongst the political circles in Norway’s parliament. “It’s bit like a lobbying group, but the Maritime Forum also provides member companies an interface with the media and with universities to ensure that curriculums are sufficient to ensure new graduates meet the needs of the industry,” added Meling.
While unions and industry advocates are present worldwide, the Norwegians have devised a unique approach to advocating the needs of their maritime industry while crossing the boundaries that may exist between competing companies in the various regions. As Håvard Stave, Sales and Projects Director at Ulstein commented to me today, “competitors exist, but they are also our friends, neighbors, and industry colleagues.” >