From fish to Ferraris: transporting cargo on the Norwegian coast

When it comes to transporting goods up and down the Norwegian coast, our ships are a vital link in the chain for coastal communities.

Since the inception of The Coastal Express in 1893, our mission has always been to connect villages, towns, and cities along the Norwegian coastline. For 130 years, we’ve transported the post, passengers, and freight that have helped families and businesses here not just survive but thrive. 

Through the cargo we deliver, our ships are at the heart of important commercial and cultural exchanges. We carry the bountiful catches of fish from northern Norway to southern Norway. From there, high-quality Norwegian seafood is exported and enjoyed throughout the rest of Europe and the world.  

When our ships return to the remote coastal communities of the north, they come bearing new and exciting goods from all corners of Europe and beyond, be it exotic fruit or fancy cars.

Per Anders Brattgjerd standing in front on MS «Midnatsol»

Sent south

The mainstay of what we transport reflects the primary industry for most communities on the Norwegian coast: fishing. Herring, halibut, cod, crab, salmon, shrimp, and scallops are caught or harvested in the teeming waters of the Arctic and carried down to ports in southern Norway. Transporting seafood via our ships rather than by freezer trucks not only decreases the carbon footprint involved, but also avoids delays caused by bad weather and closed roads.  

Per Anders has worked with cargo on The Coastal Express for decades. According to him, “There’s no food that’s in more of a hurry than fresh fish. It needs to get from point A to point B quite quickly.”

The list goes on

But Norwegian exports aren’t limited just to fish. The likes of local cloudberries, blueberries, reindeer meat, authentic aquavits, and craft beer also find their way to markets in various countries through our cargo service.  

As producers on the Norwegian coast continue to diversify and improve in quality, the list of sought-after items we’ll be helping to bring to the world will only get longer.


Brought north 

It’s not all just one way, either. We deliver all types of items to the coastal communities in northern Norway too – we've even been known to carry live cattle to local farms! 

Among the valuable cargo we drop off at ports on the Norwegian coast is food from other countries. Certain vegetables that many take for granted actually arrive courtesy of our ships. Older residents in northern Norway may remember how bananas, once never seen in these parts before, caused quite the stir at the local store after being offloaded by our ships for the first time. In fact, a number of coastal villages still rely on our service today for their supply of fresh fruit.

Research and repairs

Our ships also frequently carry repair parts or upgrades for fishing boats, keeping the region’s fishing fleet well maintained to meet the challenges of the Norwegian Sea. 

Research materials are likewise dispatched on our ships to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, who are based in various cities like Tromsø and Bergen. The data and samples we deliver help scientists better understand the health of our oceans.