Maritime transport

Updated: 14 March 2024

Next update: 13 June 2024

Goods transported to and from the largest Norwegian ports
Goods transported to and from the largest Norwegian ports
4th quarter 2023
49 653 925
Sea freight transport. All ports and selected ports. Tonnes
Sea freight transport. All ports and selected ports. Tonnes
4th quarter 2023Share
All ports49 653 925100.0
Oslo1 389 5402.8
Kristiansand607 7221.2
Stavanger844 9111.7
Bergen17 879 69336.0
Ålesund400 0760.8
Trondheim873 7051.8
Narvik5 209 37010.5
Tromsø170 3520.3
Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

This statistic shows the extent and development of freight and passenger transport at sea. For maritime freight transport, the statistic encompasses both domestic and international transportation of goods. Regarding the transportation of passengers, the statistic describes ferry traffic between Norway and neighboring countries as well passengers traveling on Hurtigruten’s costal liners.


The Norwegian law of ports and waters define ports as “a quay or quays with associated sea and land areas that are adapted for the reception and mooring of vessels in business or public service, and other areas that are connected to these.”

Domestic and foreign freight transport

Ships sailing between Norwegian ports are considered domestic sea transport. Ships sailing between Norwegian and foreign ports are considered international sea transport. This also applies for goods and passengers. International gods in transit is considered international gods when arriving in a Norwegian port, however the same goods are considered domestic gods if later transported between domestic ports.

Loading and unloading

Loading – Goods placed on a ship for transport by sea.

Unloading – Gods taken off a ship.

Type of goods

The type of goods is determined by how the goods are transported, what types of vessels that can carry the goods, and how the goods are handled when loaded and unloaded. Some types of goods require packaging, some goods are stacked, and some goods are transported in containers.

Oil and ores are examples of goods that are often transported as liquid or dry bulk. These goods typically require specialized vessels and port facilities for loading and unloading. However, oil can also be transported in barrels, which is considered break bulk cargo or general cargo. Furthermore, if the oil barrels are stored in a container which is lifted on and off the vessel, the cargo is referred to as Lo-Lo (lift-on lift-off) container cargo. The type of goods is also determined by EU standards as well as Statistics Norway’s own codes for Ro-Ro (roll-on roll-off) containers.

Loading unit

Unit which can hold goods or function as the goods (containers or vehicles).

TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit)

A statistical unit based on a 20-foot-long (6.10 m) ISO container to provide a standardized measure of containers of various capacities and for describing the capacity of container ships or terminals.

Types of vessels

There are multiple ways of grouping different types of ships. Statistics Norway has its own grouping standard for ship types at: . The grouping standard is used for data collection, as well as for producing and presenting statistics. Statistics Norway’s standard for ship types is compliant with the standard used by the European statistical office Eurostat.

Liquid bulk vessels includeoil tankers, chemical tankers, LNG and LPG tankers, tanker barge, non-inflammable tankers and other tankers.

General cargo vessels are ships designed to carry a wide range of particular cargos. This category includes reefer, Ro-Ro passenger, Ro-Ro container, other Ro-Ro cargo, combination carrier general cargo/passenger and combination carriers for general cargo/container.

Container ships are vessels fitted with fixed or portable cell guides for the exclusive carriage of containers.

Specialized carriers are vessels designed for the carriage of particular cargos. This category includes vehicle carriers, livestock carriers, irradiated fuel carriers, barge carriers and chemical carriers.

Dry bulk barges refer to deck barges, hopper barges, lighter-aboard-ship (LASH)-seabee barges, open dry cargo barges, covered dry cargo barges and other dry cargo barges.

Passenger vessels are ships designed specifically to carry more than 12 fare paying passengers whether berthed or unberthed.

Fishing vessels includes fish catching and fish-processing vessels.

Off shore vessels includes drilling and exploration vessels and offshore support vessels.

Tugboats also include vessels with pushing capabilities.

Miscellaneous ships are dredging barges, research ships and ships not mentioned elsewhere.

North and south going passengers traveling with Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten traveling north is referred to as north going traffic, and Hurtigruten traveling south is referred to as south going traffic. The data for Hurtigruten only encompasses passengers and describes how many passengers who start and end their journey in each of the ports Hurtigruten visits while traveling up and down the coast. A complete journey up and down the coast is registered as a single trip. A passenger traveling with Hurtigruten on a round trip from Bergen to Bergen is therefore counted as one passenger.

The standard for products in Statistics Norway’s transport statistics is based on the EU transport statistics product nomenclature NST 2007.

The standard for classifying cargo types in maritime transport is based on code lists from Eurostat.

Name: Maritime transport
Topic: Transport and tourism

13 June 2024

Division for Energy, Environmental and Transport Statistics

Port district

The Statistic for large ports is quarterly and published no later than 3 months after the end of each quarter.

The Statistic for minor ports is annually and published no later than 6 months after the end of the year.

Data aggregated on port relations are reported to Eurostat in accordance with Directive 2009/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on statistical returns in respect of carriage of goods and passengers by sea.

Passenger numbers for Hurtigruten are not reported to Eurostat.

Microdata is stored as SAS files. Historical data is stored as ASCII files on LINUX.

The purpose of this statistic is to document the scope and development of freight and passenger transport between Norwegian ports and between Norwegian and foreign ports.

The statistics’ current mode of data collection from ports was established in 2003. The previous iteration of the statistic relied on collecting data from ship owners. These surveys were generally referred to as surveys of rental and private transport. The last sample survey of rental and private transport was conducted in 1993.

The statistic is currently an obligation for Norway through the EEA agreement.

The statistic is used by public authorities and research institutions (ministries, The Norwegian Coastal Administration, The Institute of Transport Economics) as well as costal municipalities, public and private ports, companies and the National Accounts.

The statistic is essential for analyzing transport flows and comparing different modes of transport.

No external users have early access to data. The statistic is published and available to all from 08:00 am. on the website of Statistics Norway on the day of publication. The day of publication is scheduled no later than 3 months prior to the publication. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway and ensures equal treatment of users.

A simplified port statistic encompassing 14 port districts was published up to and including 1999.

Up to and including 1999, the annual statistic for ships registered in Norway and domestic scheduled sea traffic were published as separate statistics. For 2000 and 2001 they were merged to create the Maritime Transport Survey. Financial data was removed from the statistic and replaced with structural statistics.

A new national port statistic was established in 2003 replacing the Maritime Transport Survey.

Financial /accounting figures for ports are located here.

Figures for local public passenger transport along the coast are included in the statistic for public transport.

The framework for the statistic encompasses all transport of goods between Norwegian ports as well as goods transported between Norwegian and foreign ports. The statistic also includes the transport of passengers between Norwegian and foreign ports and passengers travelling with Hurtigruten. The framework does not include:

  • Transport between Norwegian off-shore installations and foreign ports is not included in the statistic.
  • Transport of gods and passengers on domestic high-speed crafts and ferries.
  • Fishing vessels are not included in the statistic. However, transport of processed fish is included and reported under general cargo.
  • Traffic from tugging, drilling, science and dredging vessels is not included in the statistic.

The data is collected directly from private and public ports, industrial companies operating private quays, and port areas administered by individual municipalities or through intermunicipal cooperation.

Ports with freight and/or passenger traffic are divided into two groups; ports who report quarterly and ports who report annually. What group a given port belongs to depends on the amount of traffic the port handles per year.

  • Ports with more than 1 000 000 tons of gods or more than 200 000 passengers annually are considered large ports and referred to as quarterly ports because the data from these ports are published quarterly.
  • Ports who handle less than 1 000 000 tons of gods or less than 200 000 passengers annually are considered small ports and referred to as annual ports because the data from these ports are published annually.

The Categories “Southern Norway unspecified” and “Northern Norway unspecified” encompasses private and public ports with less than 10 000 tons of freight per year. Southern Norway includes all counties along the coast south of Nordland County. Northern Norway includes the counties Nordland and Troms and Finnmark.

Some ports are organized in intermunicipal enterprises or municipal enterprises. Listed below are all ports (municipality in brackets) which report quarterly to Statistics Norway by 1 January 2020.

  • Borg Port (Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg, Hvaler)
  • Moss Port (Moss)
  • Oslo Port (Oslo)
  • Drammen Port (Drammen, Lier, Asker)
  • Tønsberg Port (Tønsberg)
  • Sandefjord Port (Sandefjord)
  • Larvik Port (Larvik)
  • Grenland Port (Skien, Bamble, Porsgrunn)
  • Kristiansand Port (Kristiansand)
  • Kvinesdal Port (Kvinesdal)
  • Eigersund Port (Eigersund)
  • Stavanger Port (Stavanger, Sola, Randaberg)
  • Sauda Port (Sauda)
  • Karmsund Port (Sveio, Tysvær, Haugesund, Bokn, Bømlo, Karmøy)
  • Bergen Port (Bergen, Askøy, Austrheim, Alver Fedje, Bjørnafjorden, Øygarden)
  • Florø Port (Askvoll, Fjaler, Sunnfjord, Hyllestad and parts of Kinn muncipality)
  • Bremanger Port (Svelgen)
  • Nordfjord Port (Gloppen, Stryn and parts of Kinn municipality)
  • Ålesund Port (Ålesund, Giske, Sula)
  • Molde and Romsdal Port (Molde, Aukra, Hustadvika, Rauma, Vestnes)
  • Kristiansund and Nordmøre Port (Aure, Averøy, Gjemnes, Heim, Kristiansund, Sunndal, Surnadal, Smøla, Tingvoll, Hitra)
  • Trondheim Port (Trondheim, Orkland, Stjørdal, Malvik, Frosta, Leksvik, Levanger, Verdal, Inderøy, , Steinkjer, Frøya, Namsos)
  • Brønnøy Port (Brønnøy)
  • Helgeland Port (Mosjøen (Vefsn), Alstahaug, Dønna, Leirfjord)
  • Mo i Rana Port (Rana)
  • Bodø Port (Bodø)
  • Narvik Port (Narvik, Kjøpsvik, Hekkestrand, Bjerkvik)
  • Harstad Port (Harstad Ibestad)
  • Tromsø Port (Tromsø)
  • Hammerfest Port (Hammerfest)
  • Kirkenes Port (Sør-Varanger)

The methods used in the data collection depends on whether the port reports quarterly or annually.

For data on goods and passengers at quarterly ports, the ports receive a description of a file (xls. or csv.) with the item or cargo unit as the statistical unit and a given number of associated variables. These variables describe attributes of the statistical units, such as the type of cargo, whether it isdomestic or foreign shipping, the nationality of the vessel and so on. Some vessels do not carry goods or passengers. To include this traffic in the statistic, a separate file for port calls is necessary. As of the first quarter of 2017, port calls have been reported to Statistics Norway by the Norwegian Coastal Administration based on data from SafeSeaNet Norway (SSN N). The port call statistics now mainly contain ships over 300 GT, while it previously contained all freight ships over 100 GT.

For most ports, the quarterly report to Statistics Norway is predefined in the port software system. This software is often supplied by a third-party supplier who is in regular contact with Statistics Norway in order to update the code lists for non-numerical variables. Well known suppliers of these services are: Seamless (portwin), Inport and Amesto.

For data on goods, passengers and vessel calls at annual ports, the data collection is based on a questionnaire that requests some aggregate numbers for the year. As of 2016, the data was reported electronically via Altinn. Annual ports are also able to report data the same way as quarterly ports.

Data from Hurtigruten is reported to Statistics Norway through a secure reporting channel.

All non-numeric variables are checked for technical compliance with the file description. Non-numeric variables with defined code lists are also checked. Numerical variables (tons or passengers) are first checked at the aggregate level and against previous periods. In the event of large deviations at the aggregate level, further control is based on the identification of decisive observations. Consistency between variables (whether a tanker is used for passenger traffic, for example) is checked. In case of missing variables or suspected errors, the port is contacted.

Not applicable

The confidentiality of private companies with their own quay are taken care of by aggregating the data. Freight from these quays are summed up and presented as belonging to NO88K Norway unspecified, quarter in the quarterly tables, and NO88A Norway – unspecified, year in the annual tables.

As of 2016, NO88A is split into the following two codes:

  • NO88N North-Norway, unspecified
  • NO88S South-Norway, unspecified

Public ports with few users and a small diversity of goods and types of cargo will have their freight published despite of there being a chance to derive information that is sensitive to competition for the carrier or owner of the goods.

Freight flows between individual ports are not published by Statistics Norway or Eurostat.

The statistic in its current state was established the first quarter of 2003. Earlier iterations are not directly comparable.

Annual numbers are available as of 2002.

The statistic for port calls is comparable from 2004 to 2016. As of 2017, The Norwegian Coastal Administration started reporting port calls via SafeSeaNet Norway (SSN N).

As of 1. quarter 2016, Sauda is included as a quarterly reporting port.

As of 1. quarter 2020, Kvinesdal is included as a quarterly reporting port.

Occasionally there are changes in the statistics that cause breaks in the time series, such as changes in the size of a port region or in a port’s area of responsibility.

Port calls are comparable from 2004 to 2016. As of the first quarter of 2017 the Norwegian Coastal Administration has been responsible for collecting data for port calls. This data is collected through SafeSeaNet Norway (SSN N)

Data collection is done by the ports who collect and register data from vessels docking at the port. If this data is insufficient or flawed, it is reflected in the statistic. Inadequate reports regarding the contents of containers is an example of these kinds of errors.

Another source of data inaccuracy associated with the ports is erroneous use of code lists. Statistics Norway uses a specific set of codes. Deviating from these specific codes will result in errors in the statistic.

Freight and passenger data can be corrected after being reported to Statistics Norway. However, if these adjustments are not reported to Statistics Norway, the data of the ports in question will deviate from the national maritime transport statistic.

Measurement and processing errors are reduced by checking errors and inconsistencies in the reported data with the relevant ports.

In some cases, Statistics Norway will use estimates for missing figures from ports.

The sample in the statistic depends on the information provided by the ports themselves. In addition, Statistics Norway identifies new ports by including an inquiry in the yearly questionnaire regarding new private ports in each municipality.

Large public ports depend on their own data collection to sufficiently supply Statistics Norway with the required amount of data. In some cases, data collection is not directly included in the ports administrative system. This can increase the risk of errors in the port’s processing of data.

Not relevant