The new president of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) says her biggest concern is the potential for an uneven global playing field of environmental regulations.

Synnove Seglem, together with the association’s chief executive, Harald Solberg, called on the International Maritime Organization to step up and help ensure that regulations are harmonised internationally.

“We work a lot on the environmental framework — both from IMO and from the European Union — and one of our concerns is that, for the time being, the EU is the leader of the regulatory framework for the shipping industry,” Solberg told TradeWinds at Nor-Shipping.

“We urge IMO to step up and take the lead. We need IMO as the main regulatory body for the shipping industry.”

The NSA believes the IMO needs to establish a legal framework so that the industry can achieve its zero-emissions climate ambition as soon as possible, ahead of the 2050 target.

If not, Seglem sees potential for divergence in regulatory regimes around the world.

“I think that if the IMO does not step up, you will see the same effect maybe in the US — and maybe even China — looking into making new environmental regulations in their waters,” she said.

“The main issue for us now is to have domestic, regional international regulations that work well together.”

The European framework could be used as a stepping stone towards an international framework, Solberg suggested.

“But we think, as an international industry, we need international regulations, so we don’t want an international patchwork of regulations for the shipping industry — it will be very complicated to handle for the shipowners and I don’t think it will be very effective either to achieve results,” he said.


Seglem, as deputy managing director of LNG carrier and tanker company Knutsen OAS Shipping, became the NSA’s new president at the end of March.

In this role — as well as in her day job — she wants to focus on making sure that incoming regulations are suitable, workable and fair across the industry.

The IMO and EU are contemplating applying fees to CO2 emissions from shipping, for instance.

“There’s a big debate about who should pay this cost and how to calculate it. All of that is not very clear at the moment,” she said.

“I think it’s quite important as well that shipowners and we who are operating the vessel talk loud and try to make sure that it’s still a fair game — because we do want to be part of this decarbonisation and this way forward for the green transition.

“But it needs to be on a fair playground because there’s a lot of investment that needs to be done, both on technology and on the vessels.”


Another important issue affecting Norwegian owners is how taxation is applied to privately owned companies, which could interfere with shipowners’ ability to compete internationally.

Private owners have to pay tax on the value of their vessels, not the earnings, Seglem explained.

“To pay this tax, they have to arrange dividends from the company, which can be draining to the capital or liquidity of the company, instead of maybe investing it into green investment or new technology or new vessels,” she added.

“Living in Norway, of course, we do get quite a lot of social benefits by paying tax — but it’s the way it’s arranged that is the main issue, because it’s taxed on the value and not on the revenue.”


Seglem also wants to encourage a more diverse range of newcomers to shipping: “By being the second female [NSA] president, I think that maybe we need to attract new talent — young talent, both genders and all kinds of competence.

“But maybe by being female — and I don’t know if because that I’m younger than quite a lot of people in shipping — it could show that this is an interesting place to be and that we are growing and that we are very attractive business to be part of?”

The NSA has met its target to have a board composed 40% of women, Solberg said. Half of its deputy board are female too.

The association had hoped to meet the target by 2025, but was able to do so at its annual general meeting in March because “we have so many clever women among our members”, he said.

Follow all of TradeWinds’ coverage from Nor-Shipping here.