Operating survey for vessels in water transport

Updated: 16 May 2023

Next update: 16 May 2024

Operating profit
Operating profit
9 084.4
NOK million
Enterprises in ocean transport. Turnover and costs (NOK million)
Enterprises in ocean transport. Turnover and costs (NOK million)
Income from freight with own and hired vessels88 375.3
Liner/PAX-transport16 087.1
Timecharter29 645.9
Bareboat freights925.2
Commision and other income1 869.3
Voyage dependent costs and bunker32 358.9
Timecharter paid37 256.0
Bareboat freights paid1 428.4
Other costs56 775.1
Operating profit9 084.4
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and charts from this statistics

  • Vessels in foreign going trade, freights and costs (NOK million) 2015 - 2017
    Vessels in foreign going trade, freights and costs (NOK million) 2015 - 2017
    Income from freight with own and hired vessels80 330.988 375.3
    Income from rental of ship with crew20 062.328 716.6
    Income from rental of ship without crew763.6925.2
    Income from liner/PAX-transport13 166.316 087.1
    Other operating income from freight contracts3 017.5929.3
    Other operating income from maritime operations3 204.61 869.3
    Total gross freights120 545.3136 902.8
    Bunkers13 056.316 321.5
    Voyage dependent costs ex. Bunkers/lubricants15 188.516 037.4
    Loading and unloading4 689.74 549.5
    Timecharter paid for hire of Norwegian vessels8 929.210 543.9
    Timecharter paid for hire of foreign vessels15 253.726 712.1
    Bareboat freights paid for hire of Norwegian vessels533.7775.3
    Bareboat freights paid for hire of foreign vessels861.8653.1
    Gross wages for own employees.3 432.7
    Gross wages for hired crew/staff.11 114.3
    Insurance premium on vessels1 061.71 058.5
    Commission to charterers, brokers and agents2 117.62 508.4
    Docking costs, surveys and periodic maintenance of vessels1 096.7922.6
    Costs for storage, repairing and maintenance of vessels2 694.84 384.5
    Depreciation and write-downs16 766.512 848.2
    Other administrative costs related to vessels17 013.05 725.1
    Other operating costs21 650.59 876.7
    Total operating costs121 300.2127 818.5
    Operating profit-754.99 084.3
    Operating profit (per cent)-0.66.6
    Explanation of symbols
  • Ocean transport, freight income by type of ship (NOK 1 000)
    Ocean transport, freight income by type of ship (NOK 1 000)
    Freight income
    All types of vessel1 146 522 493120 523 230136 902 869
    Tanker38 903 01837 191 35846 085 275
    Bulk vessel16 944 89723 970 05223 027 743
    General cargo/other dry cargo vessel62 282 49638 346 21046 191 798
    Passenger vessels7 052 1062 948 4423 119 135
    Offshore vessels15 470 04210 393 7899 969 370
    Other2 1 721 5147 673 3798 509 548
    1Ocean transport includes enterprises in industry subclasses 50.101 Passenger ocean transport, 50.201 Freight ocean transport, 50.203 Tugboats and 50.204 Supply and other sea transport offshore services
    2In 2009 freights from seismographic research vessels were registered as freights from other (9). This should have been registered as freights from offshore vessels (5)
    Explanation of symbols
  • Enterprises in coastal water transport. Turnover specified by type of service (NOK 1 000)
    Enterprises in coastal water transport. Turnover specified by type of service (NOK 1 000)
    Passenger transport - domestic sea transport5 286 8592 185 9221 861 413
    Passenger transport - foreign sea transport0:110 027
    Freight transport (freight above 25 kg) - domestic sea transport6 101 8914 404 5675 487 142
    Freight transport (freight under 25 kg) - domestic sea transport4 509:78 774
    Freight transport - foreign sea transport10 775652 988635 970
    Car ferry service611 133487 783479 098
    Offshore supply service - domestic sea transport31 41500
    Renting of vessels with crew1 115 0991 469 276:
    Renting of vessels without crew93 61482 486:
    Tug service8 68362 476436 158
    Other606 0152 694 7562 826 718
    Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The operating survey of vessels in water transport is a statistics that presents turnover and costs specified by type of service, and freight income by vessel type. The statistics is based on the statistical unit Enterprise and is restricted to enterprises operating in water transport.


Earned gross freight in the form of liner freights of goods or passengers. Liner transport is operated between scheduled, advertised ports of calling on a regular basis. It also includes income from pool agreements for liner services.


Income from renting out the ship in the form of a time charterparty. Under this type of contract, the shipowner places his ship, with crew and equipment at the disposal of the charterer for a period of time. Subject to any restrictions in the contract, the charterer decides the time and quantity of cargo to be carried and the ports of loading and discharging. He is responsible for supplying the ship with bunkers and for the payment of cargo handling operations, port charges, pilotage, towage and ship's agency. The technical operation and navigation of the ship remains the responsability of the shipowner. Any amount of time where the ship si "off hire" is deducted from the agreed period of hire contract. Includes eqivalent income from agency/pool.

Bareboat freights

Income from renting out the ship in the form of a bareboat charter party to Norwegian charterers. A bareboat charter or demise charter is when the charterers hire or charter the ship for a long period, appoint the master and crew, and pay all running expenses. In other words, the charterer takes over both, the management and commercial operation of the ship.

The industry classification is in line with the revised Norwegian Standard industrial classification (SN07), which is based on the EU’s industry standard NACE Rev. 2.

Prior to the reference year 2007, the industry classification was based on Norwegian Standard industrial classification (SN94), which is based on the EU’s industry standard NACE Rev 1.

Classification of type of vessel

Name: Operating survey for vessels in water transport
Topic: Transport and tourism

16 May 2024

Division for Structural Business Statistics

National level

Annual statistics published T+17 months after reference period

Not applicable

Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.

Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.

The purpose of this survey is to show Norwegian shipping companies activity in foreign going trade. All vessels operated from Norway are included in the survey.

Users include public and private sector agencies, private organisations, individuals and organisations such as the National Accounts and other divisions of Statistics Norway.

No external users have access to statistics before they are released at 8 a.m. on ssb.no after at least three months’ advance notice in the release calendar. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway for ensuring the equal treatment of users.

This statistics is based on the same population and sample as the Structural Business Statistics.

The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).

The statistics is part of the national programme for official statistics 2021 - 2023, domain Transport and tourism, sub-domain Sea transport.

Not applicable

The target population for this survey are all active enterprises in the following industry divisions (SN2007):

  • 50.1 Sea and coastal passenger water transport
  • 50.2 Sea and coastal freight water transport
  • 50.3 Inland passenger water transport

The population in this survey is identical to the population in the Structural Business Statistics for the same industry divisions. The survey cover all ship operating activities managed from Norwegian enterprises, regardless of flag status or ownership. It includes all ships chartered in or out from the enterprises in scope and management of shipping pools form Norway.

The survey is based on the same input sources as the Structural Business Statistics, mainly:

  • The Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises
  • Income statements from submitted tax returns
  • The a-ordning (a coordinated service used by employers to report information about income and employees to NAV, Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Tax Administration)
  • Questionnaires

The Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises is used to obtain necessary information about the population. The VAT Register, the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, information from trade organizations and direct input from the enterprises are used to update the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises.

The population consists of all enterprises in the relevant industry divisions with registered activity in the reference year. The population is divided into subpopulations, called strata, after criteria like industrial classification and number of employees. In some of the strata, all enterprises are always included in the sample. From the remaining strata, a representative selection of enterprises is drawn. All enterprises in this sample are asked to report a full set of Trading Statements and to complete a questionnaire.

Turnover, number of employees and general information related to costs are collected from the Norwegian Tax Administration and the a-ordning. This information is available for the entire population.

This detailed survey of accounting data is combined with the additional information from the various registers and the structural survey of Statistics Norway to form the basis for the estimation of the financial structures of the different industries and the transport and tourism sector as a whole.

Data collection

Data is collected as part of the data collection for the Structural Business Statistics. The sample survey is conducted in the second quarter after the reference year.


Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data.
Data from the sample survey is edited as part of the Structural Business Statistics. Important variables are the industry classification, turnover, personell costs, opertaing costs and operating profit. Data is controlled against previous year and data sources mentioned above. In some cases the respondents are also contacted directly. Reported gross freights and operating expenses are checked against income statements and annual accounts.


Estimation of figures for the population is based on reported figures from the sample survey. The basis for estimation is the relationship between reported figures for gross freigths/operating expenses and turnover/sum operating expenses as reported in the tax income statements. These estimated ratios are used to calculate gross freights/operating expenses for all enterprises in the non-sample part of the population.

The estimation methodology was changed from 2005 onwards. An established rate-model was introduced in order to have more robust estimation of totals and variation. The new model did not generate significant differences in presented results compared to previous years.

Not applicable

Employees of Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality.

Statistics Norway does not publish figures if there is a risk of the respondent’s contribution being identified. This means that, as a general rule, figures are not published if fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or if the contribution of one or two respondents constitutes a very large part of the cell total.

Statistics Norway can make exceptions to the general rule if deemed necessary to meet the requirements of the EEA agreement, if the respondent is a public authority, if the respondent has consented to this, or when the information disclosed is openly accessible to the public.

More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.

To ensure confidentiality, the suppression method is used in these statistics.

The survey was named ''Gross freight earnings and operating expenses for vessels in foreign-going trade'' up until and including the reference year 2000. The survey was mainly based on collection of questionnaire forms, where the observation unit was the vessels themselves. There was some uncertainty, related to the actual coverage of vessels registered in foreign ship registers.

Including the reference year 2001 and onwards, the applicable industry classifications has been used to define the population. These classifications has been revised since 2001 and not all industries are comparable backwards on 4- and 5-digit level, this is marked with explanatory notes and/or breakes in the tables affected. The change of classification has no influence on 2- and 3-digit level.

For some industrial subclasses there has been a significant increase in the number of enterprises and local KAUs between 2001 and 2002. This is, to a large extent, due to better register information as a result of the value added tax (VAT) reform and enterprises and local KAUs with low turnover - that were previously not included - are included from 2002.

Updating of industries in the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises may also have caused revisions for some of the industries. These changes have not been dated back.

The results of a statistical survey may contain some collection and processing errors.

Collection errors occur when the provider of the data gives incorrect answers due to forgetfulness, misunderstanding of questions etc. Processing errors are errors from coding or errors that occur during the transferring of information from the questionnaire to a machine-readable medium or during editing.

Sampling errors are errors that may arise in areas subject to sampling.

Variance for other variables than turnover and employment the statistics are based on estimated figures from sample-based surveys and not on figures from full censuses. When basing the statistics on sample-based surveying instead of a full census, there may be a certain statistical deviation between the properties of the sample population and the population. This imbalance in the sample will normally be reduced by increasing the size of the sample, and will therefore be closely connected to sampling rates percentages and contribution ratios for various key variables.

There are no fixed rules on acceptable sampling rates or contribution ratios. In a homogeneous population, that is a population where the units are similar to one another, a relatively low sampling rate or contribution ratio may give satisfactory results. On the other hand, in heterogeneous populations the sampling rate and contribution ratios should be higher.

Groups that are based on relatively few observations will easily be affected by observations that deviate from the group average. To identify and to help deciding what to do with such extreme observations in the production of the statistics, there has been developed a special programme.

Bias: Sample bias may arise when the distribution on some variables in different parts of the sample is not the same as the corresponding distribution in the population. Stratification is used in the structural business statistics to reduce the possibility of imbalance in the sample. When stratifying the population, it is divided into several unique subpopulations after criteria like industrial classification, turnover and number of employees. This is done to ensure that each subpopulation consists of units that are as homogenous as possible. The sample is then drawn from all of the subpopulations.

Non-responses that are not randomly distributes can still make the sample biased. Post-stratification adjusts any imbalances arising in the distribution between the stratification variables due to non-response.

Non-response: Non-response, that is when the respondent does not return the form or returns the form with incomplete information, will always be an aspect of form-based surveys. In the structural business statistics, non-respondent enterprises are treated the same way as enterprises outside the sample population.

In the structural business statistics, the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises, the Register of Annual Company Reports in Brønnøysund, the VAT Register and A-ordningen are used in order to define the population and help collect the necessary data.

Errors in these administrative registers - like time gaps in registration, incorrectly identified unit characteristics etc. may therefore be a potential source of uncertainty in the statistics and may for instance have an impact when dividing the population into adequate strata.

A revision is a planned change to figures that have already been published, for example when releasing final figures as a follow-up to published preliminary figures. See also Statistics Norway’s principles for revisions.