In 2005, Norway exported services for approximately NOK 193 billion (approximately EUR 24 billion), roughly half of which (42 per cent) was accounted for by the shipping industry. All in all, services account for just under one quarter (22 per cent) of Norway’s total exports.
The utilisation of Norway’s rich natural resources presents enormous challenges. A harsh climate, long winters, difficult terrain, and the world’s harshest seas all have to be overcome. In doing so, Norwegian enterprises have not only generated wealth, but also developed significant resources in the form of technical expertise. All of the modern Norwegian consulting companies that are active in areas such as marine technology, hydropower, mineral resources engineering, aquaculture, the fisheries industry, forestry, and the oil and gas industry directly or indirectly have their origins in the country’s many traditional industries.
Modern industrial sectors are dependent on an effective transport sector. Norwegian transport services include shipping companies, shipping and forwarding agents, air freight carriers, and logistics companies. Despite having a population of only 4.6 million, Norway accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the global shipping fleet, and has one of the largest merchant fleets. Norway is probably the only country in the world with such a large and diverse maritime industry.
In addition to technical consulting, Norwegian firms supply an increasing number of other services, in areas as diverse as finance and insurance, legal and auditing services, marketing and public relations, and management consulting. Moreover, a large number of private consulting firms, and public and semi-private R&D institutions with close links to universities, university colleges, and other centres of research and learning, provide consultancy services worldwide.