Norway’s majestic fjords have become popular tourist attractions over the years. For example, more than 300.000 cruise passenger visited Geiranger last year and as a result of it, the local air pollution has become a periodical health hazard.

Now the Norwegian Parliament has acted to halt emissions from cruise ships and ferries in the Norwegian world heritage fjords – making them zero-emission zones by 2026 where only electric ships will be able to go.

Norway’s world heritage fjords, like the Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord, are fjords that UNESCO has included on its World Heritage List – “considering them to be so important that they belong to all humanity, and stating that they must be preserved for future generations.”

In an effort to protect them, environmental organizations campaigned for the resolution adopted by the Norwegian Parliament.

Marius Holm, head of the environmental foundation ZERO.

“For the first time in the world there is a requirement for emission-free sailing in the fjords and their harbours.  Norway has long been a world leader in emission-free ferries based on sound political decisions on zero-emission requirements. Now the country is taking a step further in the maritime green shift, that has global repercussions.  At the national level, this will mean a welcome development towards emission-free solutions on many tourist ships, a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a halt to harmful local air pollution,”

Indeed, Norway, a well-known leader in electric car adoption, has also been leading the charge when it comes to electric ferries.

The operators of the first all-electric ferry in Norway, the ‘Ampere’, reported some impressive statistics after operating the ship for over 2 years.

They claim that the all-electric ferry cuts emissions by 95% and costs by 80%.

Unsurprisingly, the potential cost savings are attracting a lot of orders for new electric ferries and for the conversion of existing diesel-powered ferries.

Fjord1, a major Norwegian transport conglomerate which operates 75 ships, placed an important order with the Havyard Group to build a fleet of battery-electric ferries shortly after.

Now the resolution is expected to accelerate the industry’s effort to electrify their fleets and even force the cruise ship industry to adapt.

Havila Holding AS, which operates some of the routes in the fjords, welcomed the decision. Per Sævik, CEO of Havila, commented:

“Havila welcomes this decision, and not a moment too soon. We’ll be ready to sail emissions-free with our cruise ships in the fjords as early as 2021,”

The Norwegian authorities have also recently demanded zero-emission technology solutions as part of the effort to reduce emissions from the country’s ferry fleet outside of the fjords, which is one of the most important in the world.

Update: Now they have a new ship to cover the route: A stunning new all-electric catamaran with massive battery pack goes into operation

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