Norway’s Eksfin supporting shipping’s green transition with up to $1bn

Norwegian export credit agency Eksfin has provided about $1.2 billion (NOK 10 billion) loan guarantees for the construction of 35 eco-friendly vessels over the last four years.

The credit agency has supported different types of environmentally friendly vessels, including liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled polar exploration vessel Le Commandant Charcot.

Fincantieri’s subsidiary Vard delivered the ship to French cruise company Ponant last month.

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Ponant plans to deploy the 245-passenger ship on polar cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.

In line with coompany’s strong emphasis on environmental considerations across its activities, Le Commandant Charcot has been certified by French classification society Bureau Veritas with PC2 polar ice class, and Clean Ship status.

Furthermore, the firm estimates that using LNG will reduce emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 95%, 85% and 25%, respectively, compared to conventional cruise ships.

Marseille-based Ponant contributed a significant amount of the contract position from its own resources, with Eksfin providing the outstanding monies in cooperation with French banks.

The Eksfin loan amounted to €162.4 million, with risk guarantees totalling an even higher €182.7 million.

The credit agency earlier contributed to the financing of six expedition cruise ships also built by VARD for Ponant.

Other Norwegian companies made use of Eksfin’s financing for green ship projects including:

  • Hurtigruten for hybrid cruise ships;
  • ferry operators Norled, Boreal and Fjord1 for diesel-electric, hydrogen-electric and fully electric ferries:
  • Color Line for what is the world’s largest hybrid cruise-ferry;
  • and tanker operator Altera Shuttle Tanker for LNG-powered tankers with volatile compound (VOC) emissions recovery.

Our job at Eksfin is to promote Norwegian exports globally and boost the financial capacity of Norwegian industry. In the shipping space we are helping shipowners, shipyards and equipment sub-suppliers to finance an increasing number of vessels featuring alternative fuels or new technologies that reduce harmful emissions,” said Eksfin CEO Tone Lunde Bakker.

We are now close to the milestone figure of NOK 10bn and will continue to pursue projects with a strong environmental profile reflecting the industry trend towards more sustainable operations.”