NIB co-finances Norled’s low-carbon fleet

The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) has signed a seven-year loan to co-finance ferry and express boat operator Norled AS’ investments in zero- and low-carbon vessels and related land-based infrastructure in Norway during 2024-2030.

As informed, the NOK 500 million (€43.4 million) loan will help Norled finance the extension of its low-carbon fleet.

The InvestEU program supports the loan under NIBs Framework Operation Green Mobility and Transport approved by the Investment Committee. This is NIB’s first InvestEU loan in Norway.

Norway is electrifying its transport network at a rapid pace, aiming to cut 50% of Norwegian emissions in the transport industry by 2030.

“By financing the green transition of the Nordic ferry sector, NIB not only furthers the decarbonisation of maritime transport but also sparks change across various industries, such as green hydrogen, batteries, and hybrid solutions,” Harald Rokke, Director, Infrastructure & Project Finance and Country Lead for Norway, said.

“At the forefront of this shift, Norled plays a key role in the electrification of short-sea ferries and pioneering the use of new fuels like hydrogen.”

In January 2023, Singapore-based shipbuilder Sembcorp Marine delivered the final unit of three identical fully battery-operated roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) ferries for Norled. Leikanger, which joined its sister vessels Hella and Dragsvik, runs on lithium-ion batteries charged by hydro-electric power and is able to operate in hybrid mode utilizing combined battery-diesel power as an alternative.

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In February last year, the company also welcomed to its fleet the first of two hybrid battery-electric express ferries, MS Frey, built at Oma Baatbyggeri. The delivery of MS Frey followed the successful commissioning of the diesel-electric systems integrated by SEAM, a Norwegian supplier of zero-emission solutions to the maritime industry.

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A month later, MF Hydra, the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry operated by Norled, started sailing on zero-emission hydrogen with a blessing from the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

The ferry was put into operation on March 31, running on zero-emission hydrogen and marking a historic day both for Norled and Norway as a shipping nation.

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Norled AS is one of Norway’s largest ferry and express boat operators with concessions on 25 public transport service contracts with 50 routes along the coast of Norway. The company operates 41 ferries and 34 express boat services from Troms, Nordland, Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Vestland, Rogaland, Oslo, Akershus og Østfold.

The financial institution NIB is owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.