Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

96 INTERVIEW Building on green ambitions Heidi Wolden explains to Michele Witthaus how Norwegian ferry operator Norled plans to achieve its goal of becoming a zero-emission organisation by 2040 Boasting a long coastline relative to its size as well as its iconic fjords, Norway depends more than many countries on ferries for both essential services and transporting passengers. Headquartered in Stavanger, Norled has a strong history of providing various transport services in the country. It currently operates around 70 ferries and express boats along the Norwegian coast, from Oslo in the south to Harstad in the north. Transporting people, goods and cars all year round, the company’s ferries are a central part of the Norwegian infrastructure. “Our express boats transport people quickly from one area to another where it often is faster to go by boat than car, and we also offer tourist trips to our fjords and grand natural attractions,” says Heidi Wolden, who took up the role as Norled CEO in May 2020. The company has developed a reputation for investing in innovative technologies to help minimise its carbon emissions. “Norled has worked hard to reduce emissions related to ferries and express boats,” says Wolden. “We introduced the world’s first electrical vessel, MF Ampere, back in 2015, which revolutionised the Norwegian ferry industry. Since then we have built several other electrical ferries and we use electrical ferries where we can.” Norled’s fully electric ferry MF Ryfylkeferjen, which entered service in July 2022, continues to build the brand’s reputation for sustainable and efficient travel. “The ferry is one of several electrical ferries in our fleet,” says Wolden. “When we build new ferries they are mainly electrical. “ Sustainability is an integrated part of our activity, strategy and plans” In July 2021, Norled took delivery of MF Hydra, the world’s first ferry running on liquid hydrogen