All the governments we have had in recent times have aimed to transfer more of the freight transport from road to sea and rail. Now the government has both introduced an EU directive that will worsen the competitiveness of ship transport and at the same time open up longer lorry trains with heavier loads on Norwegian roads. Ship transport is the most energy-efficient way to transport goods due to the low speed. Trains, and especially the electric ones, are also significantly better in every way than more heavy traffic on Norwegian roads. Increased heavy traffic on Norwegian roads will also lead to increased wear and tear on the roads. Heavier vehicles such as lorries and buses account for most of the wear and tear on the road network.
An analysis carried out by Thema for, among others, the Port of Oslo and Norsk Industri shows that the sulfur requirements in the EU directive could lead to over 100,000 extra lorries on the roads in 2015, according to Finn Langeland, director of communications at Norsk Industri. With the maintenance backlog on Norwegian roads, this also gives cause for concern. The opening for longer truck trains was justified on the grounds that, among other things, it would give the forestry and wood industry better framework conditions.
Due to the trucks' higher fuel consumption, the EU directive for sulfur emissions from ships could paradoxically lead to increased emissions due to the higher costs of ship transport. Thus, more freight transport will be transferred from sea to road. In combination with longer and heavier laden trucks, the competitive conditions are now strengthened in favor of goods transport along the roads. This is contrary to national objectives to transfer freight transport from road to sea and rail.