Navigating Success: Accounting and Business Strategies for Foreign Companies in Norway's Maritime Industry -
Navigating Success: Accounting and Business Strategies for Foreign Companies in Norway's Maritime Industry
Date of publication: 14.03.2024

Norway has a significant and well-established shipbuilding and ship repair industry, historically known for its high-quality construction and innovative practices. The industry, with a strong presence in regions like Møre og Romsdal, Hordaland, and Rogaland, focuses on building specialized vessels, including fishing vessels, offshore supply vessels, and cruise ships. Norwegian shipyards are internationally recognized for their advanced technology and innovation, positioning Norway as a competitive player in the global shipbuilding market.

Novum Økonomi AS, an authorized accounting and consultancy firm, has been active in the Norwegian market for over 20 years. During this time, we have witnessed numerous changes in industries popular among foreign entrepreneurs in Norway. Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes. Recently, the construction industry experienced a major upheaval due to various factors, including the highest interest rate hike in years, a rise in the cost of building materials, and a government-imposed ban on staffing rentals in several counties of southern Norway. Although there are exceptions to the ban, the construction industry has seen a significant decline in new investments.

Revival of the Shipyard Industry

Contrary to the construction sector, our observations indicate that clients in the shipyard industry are beginning to see an increase in orders and heightened activity in shipyards. Many foreign workers and entrepreneurs are trusted by Norwegian investors. Each year, branches of foreign companies (Norwegian Registered Foreign Businesses – NUFs) better adapt to Norwegian regulations and client requirements. Novum plays a part in this by guiding foreign companies through the registration and operation processes in Norway. Before a foreign company submits a bid to a Norwegian client, it should prepare on multiple fronts.

Registering a Polish Company’s Branch Before Negotiations?

Norwegian clients often verify whether a company can legally operate in Norway even before presenting contract terms. Every company, including those sending workers to Norwegian shipyards, must register in Norway. There are several registration options, such as a Norwegian branch of a foreign company (Norskregistrert Utenlandsk Foretak; NUF) or a Norwegian limited company (Aksjeselskap; AS). The type of registration depends on various factors, such as contract duration, nature of the task, and company plans.

The Possibility of Posting Employees to Norwegian Shipyards from an EEC Company

Registering a branch or company is the first step towards cooperating with Norwegian investors. Renovation, welding, or construction works in Norway are carried out by employees of foreign companies. These employees must also register, for example, with the tax office. Most registrations are done electronically, some even automatically through accounting systems. However, posted workers must also personally visit one of the designated tax offices every five years.

Changes in Wage and Work Conditions – Minimum Wages in Norway

Some sectors in Norway are covered by collective agreements that set the minimum hourly wages for both Norwegian and foreign workers. The shipyard and construction industries are among these. Additionally, the shipyard industry often has collective agreements with trade unions, which may stipulate different rates than those in the general agreements.

What Else to Check Before Posting a Worker to a Norwegian Shipyard?

There are several other obligations foreign contractors must fulfil when posting workers to Norway. One is adhering to the regulations regarding working hours of the Norwegian Working Environment Act (Arbeidsmiljøloven). Another obligation is covering the costs of travel, accommodation, and food during the work period in Norway.

Is It Worth It?

This is a common question asked of Norwegian accountants and advisors after hearing the list of foreign employers' obligations in Norway. Without registering a business form and registering employees, legally performing work in Norway is impossible. Thus, it's not a matter of profitability but the ability to fulfil a contract for Norwegian investors.

However, we can assure our potential clients that the Norwegian market is among the most stable and trustworthy in Europe. It's just a matter of preparing well for undertaking a project in Norway.

If you have questions about posting workers to Norwegian shipyards, we would like to invite you to consult with Novum Økonomi AS. With the key-phras: Navigating Success in Norway, we offer a 10% discount on our starter package for company registration.

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