Ferry group raising cash for Norway-England line

A secret consortium is continuing to work behind the scenes to raise capital for a planned resumption of ferry services between western Norway and Newcastle, a spokesman said.

Ferry group raising cash for Norway-England line
Photo: Gorm Kallestad/Scanpix

Backers have already pumped in capital and a firm has been set up with the aim of either buying or renting a ferry to ply a route between the Vestlandet region and northern England, according to Ole Warberg, Managing Director of Visit Bergen and chairman of the board of the new company.

The firm’s primary challenge involves raising enough cash to allow it to develop into a fully operational ferry company, he told newspaper Bergens Tidende.

“There are plenty of ships on the market. For a new England ferry to be profitable, it will have to be of an appropriate size and standard. For this reason, the new company is concentrating on ships that can hold 600 to 800 passengers, 200 to 300 cars, and 50 to 100 containers,” said Warberg.

A number of major investors in Norway and the UK have already put money into the project, Warberg said, without naming them.

“Our hope was to make a final decision by July 1st this year but I don’t think that timeframe is feasible. We’re now working first and foremost on getting in enough capital to operate a new ferry route to England,” he told Bergens Tidende.

Tourism officials on both sides of the North Sea say a new ferry line would provide an economic boost:

"From our perspective it would be great. It's important not only for tourism, but also for business and freight," Kim Lovlie, at the Oslo office of official British tourism promoter Visit Britain, told The Local in October last year.

DFDS Seaways scrapped its Bergen-Newcastle service in 2008, blaming higher oil prices and the economic downturn.

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Norwegian city announces plan to stop naming streets after men

The city council in Bergen has proposed that streets, squares and municipal buildings no longer be named after men apart from in "very special cases". The plan has provoked opposition in some quarters.

Norwegian city announces plan to stop naming streets after men
Bergen harbour. Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz on Unsplash

The council will take a final vote on the proposal next week.

Katrine Nødtvedt, City Councillor for Culture, Diversity and Gender Equality in Bergen, said that the drastic proposal was needed to get a message across.

“Previously you would work on the basis that you would choose a female name if you could think of anybody suitable. Instead, we should be actively working to correct the gender balance,” she told newspaper VG.

According to the city council’s website, the change in naming conventions is a part of “Project Female Name”, which will look at street names and women’s history.

The city councillor believes the proposal should get the go-ahead.

“There has long been a political majority in Bergen to promote women and name more streets and public places after women,” Nødtvedt told Dagbladet newspaper.

READ ALSO: Travel: Norway extends restrictions into May 

In 2018, the city council in Bergen decided that the municipality should increase the number of places number after women. There were 229 streets in Bergen named after people at the time, of which 28 were female names while 201 were male names.

“When you see that it is the result after 950 years of Bergen’s history, I think many understand that drastic measures are needed,” Nødtvedt said.

She also explained that the city wouldn’t be closing the door on naming places after men altogether.

“At the same time, we allow for very special cases where there are men who has a special connection to a place in the city, and then we will be able to assess it,” the councillor said.

However, the plan has provoked a strong backlash in some quarters.

“Decisions that force equality at street name level, I think is just sad and a little pathetic,” the former mayor of Bergen, Trude Drevland, told VG.

“If we are to succeed in achieving gender equality, then it won’t be measured by 50/50 names of streets and places on the back of a forced decision,” she added.