Leading the way
The history of Fjord1 dates back to 1858, when Nordre Bergenhus Amts Dampskipe was established to provide boat services from Bergen to the county today known as Sogn og Fjordane. Another important year is 1920 when Møre Fylkes Ruteselskap, a government-owned organisation, was established to provide fjord-crossing services when local competition drove many of the private ferry firms into bankruptcy, Fjord1 has grown over the years to become Norway’s largest ferry company. At first the company simply offered a way for passengers to cross the fjord, however, by the 1950s and 1960s it had grown into a fully-fledged ferry company offering passenger, vehicle and cargo services.
Steady growth of both the population and economy in the area led to increasing business for the company until, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it started to branch into other transportation sectors. This was marked most significantly by the 2001 merger. The Fjord1 Nordvestlandske Group was established and its two ferry companies adopted new names: Fjord1 Fylkesbaatane and Fjord1 MRF. In 2012 the operation in the holding group was merged into one company, Fjord1 AS. Fjord1 has in later years concentrated on its core operational area, sea-based transport by ferries and passenger boats.
Today Fjord1 has 62 ships, making it one of the largest in the Norwegian transport sector; servicing the rugged and numerous fjords in More og Romsdal and Sogn og Fjordane, as well as operations in Sor-Trondelag, Hordaland, Rogaland and Buskerud. Additionally, the company has a 34 per cent ownership in the airline company Wideroe.
Fjord1 specialises in the operation of passenger and car ferries; crossing the fjords and connecting the islands to the mainlands, Fjord1 transported 10.0 million vehicles and 20.7 million passengers in 2015. In 2000 Fjord1 started operating the first LNG gas powered ferry in the world. Today the company is operating 12 gas powered ferries, one of them converted to a battery hybrid. The company is committed to environmentally friendly operations. This environmental focus has resulted in Fjord1’s name becoming synonymous with natural gas utilisation in ferry operations.
In more detail, the company’s 12 LNG ferries includes Bergensfjord, one of five LNG sister ferries to operate on the main coast road; sailing at 21 knots, the Bergensfjord has capacity for 589 passengers and 212 cars/22 trucks. The five sister gas ferries each have four Schottel thrusters, while three ferries are designed to operate at 21 knots, while the remaining two operate at 17 knots. The 21 knots ferries have four Rolls-Royce gas engines, with a total output of 11,800 kw, while the 17 knots ferries have two Rolls-Royce gas engines, which have a total output of 5000 kw; each ferry has two 125 m3 gas tanks installed.
Strengthening the company’s environmentally friendly and efficient fleet is Fjord1’s commitment to having competent and experienced crew on board. Indeed, by ensuring all crew, including apprentices, have a thorough understanding of the technical properties of liquid and compressed gas, such as explosion limits, ignition sources, risk reduction and consequence reducing measures as well as rules and procedures that must be followed during normal operation and emergency situations, the company maintains a safe environment. Moreover, all crew must understand the difference between an LNG-fuelled vessel and a diesel-fuelled vessel, security equipment, operational issues such as loading/unloading, passengers, collision and cargo as well as fire/explosions.
Despite its strong market presence, Fjord1 is not a company to rest on its laurels and had two new double-ended ferries delivered in 2016; these have capacity for 60 cars and 190 passengers each.
Following this investment, the company has ordered two newbuilds from Tersan; these vessels are battery-operated, fully electrical, boast zero emissions and have a capacity of 120 cars, 12 trailers and 349 passengers each. To further enhance capabilities on its double-ended battery ferries as they cross between Anda and Lote on the west coast of Norway, Fjord1 invested in Rolls Royce’s automatic crossing system in October 2016. The crossing system works by automatically controlling the vessel’s acceleration, deceleration, speed and track to enhance energy efficiency and safe transportation. Each vessel will have two Rolls-Royce azipull thrusters that respond to environmental conditions, which thus ensures optimal efficiency. Additionally Fjord1 will order two ferries with a capacity of 50 cars, mostly battery-operated, to cross between Brekstad and Valset in Sor-Trondelag.
Another sign that Fjord1 is taking a green approach to sea-based transportation is the delivery of the state-of-the-art passenger ship Vision of the Fjords in mid-2016. The ship is operated by The Fjords, a Fjord1 and Flåm AS joint venture specialised in operating tourist routes in some of the most iconic fjords in Norway. Fjord1’s technical staff played an important in the development and construction. Vision of the Fjords was awarded Ship of the Year 2016 at SMM in Hamburg.
Looking ahead, the company is certain to remain competitive in a challenging industry, having cemented its role as a ferry operator with the take over of seven ferry services in Hordaland in 2018 and 2020.
This development will not only result in the ferry fleet in the country being modernised but also opens up a unique initiative between rides and Fjord1 within the Emerald shift in the ferry industry.
From 1st January 2020, routes will include Sløvåg-Leirvåg, Fedje-Sævrøy, Halhjem-Våge, Hatvik-Venjaneset and Langevåg-Buavåg. The ferries that operate these routes currently have an average age of 30 years, however, once Fjord1 takes over, the fleet will be renewed on all lines; this is due to requirements for ferry services to meet energy use and emissions regulations as well as Fjord1’s commitment towards a green approach in business operations. Indeed, upon winning the tender, Fjord1 has worked continually on the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
• Norway’s largest ferry company
• Two new ferries delivered 2016
• Provides essential public transport services