The final day of Nor-Shipping saw women from a wide cross-section of shipping come together for an informal day of walking, eating, art and discussions about life in the business on a tour organised by Oslo Business Region with support from Wista Norway.

And following a couple of years in the wilderness during the pandemic, Nor-Shipping has demonstrated the power of bringing women together in person for collaboration and swapping ideas.

Danielle Southcott, founder and chief executive of Veer Group, and Captain Alex Hagerty from Captains Without Borders were both finalists for Nor-Shipping’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

What was unexpected was that the award process ended up bringing the two women together as collaborators rather than competitors.

“I needed to meet other women who were in the same business. For startups and non-profits, women are still a minority so it’s important for women to meet each other,” Captain Hagerty told TradeWinds.

Her initiative seeks to find work placements and scholarships for cadets in countries were finding work onboard ships can be difficult.

Veer has signed up the Captains Without Borders pledge to make an initial commitment for two cadet placements onboard its vessel as soon as its ships are delivered in 2025.

“We’re happy to increase that, it’s just a starting number,” Southcott told TradeWinds.

The pledge is something that came about following the two women meeting at the Young Entrepreneur award ceremony.

Veer has also signed up to Wista Norway’s 40 by 30 initiative, in which companies pledge to have 40% of women in management positions by 2030.

Veer is a “clean” shipping company that has designed an ocean-going container vessel fitted with Dynarig sails and green hydrogen.

Southcott says Veer is “revisiting what it means to be a shipping company, not just with tech, but social aspects, the business model, how to interact with stakeholders and so on.”

Captain Hagerty, who is based in the US, thinks the collaboration with Southcott and Veer could go further.

“We might be able to share investors. Danielle is able to advise me on types of pitfalls and also how to make compromises, that’s also important,” she told TradeWinds.

“It’s important to understand how to brand and represent yourself — within your own community and internationally.”