Specialisation strategies in Norwegian shipping – a Vernon product cycle approach

Type/nr A20/09
Skrevet av Stig Tenold
One of the most important developments in the postwar shipping industry from the 1960s onwards has been the introduction of specialised ship types that have gained market shares in the transport of a large number of cargoes. The share of specialised tonnage in the Norwegian fleet increased from less than one per cent in 1960 to more than thirty per cent by 1987.

This trend towards increased specialisation did not occur to the same extent in all maritime centres. Norwegian owners held a large share of the new ships, but even within Norway there were substantial differences. Specifically, a disproportionate share of the specialised Norwegian ships was owned by shipping companies in the city of Bergen. In 1977 Bergen companies owned around fourteen per cent of the aggregate Norwegian fleet, but almost half of the specialised tonnage. The Bergen presence was particularly strong in two segments; chemical tankers and open hatch bulk shipping.

After the introduction of a theoretical framework and a presentation of the increasing degree of specialisation within Norwegian shipping, the paper looks more closely at the Bergen participation in the two segments mentioned above. Through closer studies of the companies involved it becomes evident that three factors – cooperation between individual companies, vertical integration and technological innovation – can explain the strategic shifts.
Språk Skrevet på engelsk