Oslo Stock Exchange chief executive Oivind Amundsen has a stark warning for shipowners: get with the decarbonisation programme or miss out.

Speaking to Nor-Shipping ahead of the big maritime gathering next month, the former naval officer said the bourse has more than 40 top maritime companies on its boards, boasting a combined market cap of close to €20bn ($21.5bn).

“The market has changed a lot,” he said. “As little as 10 years ago, nobody talked about International Maritime Organization regulations, dual-fuel, clean fuel or ammonia. The focus then was on time to market — the fastest way to transport goods from A to B. However, that has now changed dramatically.”

Amundsen believes many people do not consider shipping to be an environmental, social and governance (ESG) business, instead associating it with pollution.

“Really it is the other way around. It will be extremely important for many years ahead to transport goods on the oceans and that puts an even greater focus on ESG across the shipping sector,” he said.

“If you are not part of this and take your responsibility as a shipowner or charterer, you will lose out.”

The executive explained that companies come to Oslo knowing that investors there require them to follow the IMO rules and have sufficient modern ships.

“If you do not, then you will not be getting any contracts,” he added.

“There is such a strong demand now from investors that companies have a comprehensive ESG profile. If you want good investors and long-term investment, what we call high-quality investors, they will want to see you can deliver on the ESG side.”

The latest shipping newcomer in Oslo was Stainless Tankers, the Tufton and Womar-backed start-up formed with seven chemical tankers previously owned by Tufton funds.

It carried out a $67m over-the-counter IPO in March and then listed on the main board.

Working together

Amundsen said partnership with Norway’s maritime sector is important to the exchange: “We would not be the biggest stock exchange in the world for shipping if it was not for the strong industry cluster in Norway.”

He pointed to an ecosystem in the Norwegian financial market based on the participants all working together.

“I often say that we own this market jointly and we cooperate to make it work,” he said. “We have the investors, bankers, brokers, lawyers and analysts that know the shipping business very well and can support each other.”

The Oslo bourse has been owned by Euronext since 2019.