Current cabotage rules
The involvement of foreign actors in the domestic market for road transport of goods is limited by Norwegian regulations today (February 2013). Following an international assignment to a location in Norway, foreign lorries may take three domestic goods transport assignment during seven calendar days before they have to return to their home country. These regulations are likely to be changed in 2014.
The EU currently intends to liberalize cabotage rules in all member countries, and it is likely that Norwegian rules will be adapted to those of the EU.
Are foreign lorries over represented?
Although the increasing share of foreign actors in road transport in Norway is well documented, little is known about the consequences for national road safety, because the accident risk of foreign lorry drivers has not been calculated. Data from the National Public Roads Administration and the police seem, however, to indicate that foreign actors are overrepresented in accidents, especially during winter.
Estimates made by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and towing companies in 2010 on the E139 road between Ålesund and Dombås in the central region of Norway, indicates that foreign lorries are overrepresented in the accident statistics. Although foreign lorries constituted 22 % of the lorries on this road stretch, 33 % of the lorries that needed help from the towing companies were foreign. Moreover, in the county of Nordland, 80 % of the 183 lorries registered in single accidents, other accidents, or in other ways to have caused severe traffic disruption in the three months of 2011, were foreign (www.nrk.no).
Real increase in the grounding risk along the coast of Norway?
In recent years there has been an increase in the numbers of all types of ship groundings in Norway, from 150 in 2006 to 250 in 2010, which according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority represent a real increase in risk, since ship distances and tonnage carried did not change substantially in the same period.
The share of foreign ships involved in groundings along the coast of Norway increased dramatically from 5 % in 2000 to 34 % by 2004. Foreign cargo ships now constitute a substantial share in the Norwegian statistics of ship accidents and groundings. The question is whether this trend reflects the higher share of foreign ships sailing in Norwegian waters (port statistics) or a real difference in accident risk for domestic and foreign ships.