The Norwegian Government has joined key players in the coastal shipping industry to ensure the country has the world’s most environmentally friendly fleet of coastal vessels.

As part of the initiative, Norwegian State Secretary for Climate and Environment Lars Andreas Lunde and Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland have signed a declaration of cooperation with the shipping companies in the country.

This green coastal shipping programme is aimed at implementing the government’s new maritime strategy and also helping reduce air pollution in order to attain both national and international climate goals.

"More ships must use environmentally friendly fuels such as gas and battery power, and we must see more ships with new energy-efficient designs."

Intended to drive innovation and green workplaces, the programme would bring major export opportunities for the maritime, energy and supplier industries.

Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft said: "This year, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris is to negotiate a new climate agreement that will entail new obligations and the implementation of new climate measures.

"For this reason, more ships must use environmentally friendly fuels such as gas and battery power, and we must see more ships with new energy-efficient designs."

Classification society DNV GL has said that it has taken the initiative to launch the programme.

Around 18 companies have signed the deceleration, together with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Seafood policy and Ministry of Climate and Environment.