MARINTEK is well known for its role in making ships faster and safer as well as more efficient and environmentally friendly. This is an important activity as shipping rightly has been called the "life blood" of international trade: Between 80% and 90% of international trade is done by ships as low cost, high capacity and highly efficient transport services are at the heart of long distance trade.
However, ship transport is only one component of trade and not always the one that costs the most for exporters or importers. While the transport of a twenty foot container (TEU) from the Far East to Europe costs on the order of 1000 USD, the export costs (excluding tariffs and taxes) can vary from about USD 500 (10 lowest countries) to about USD 4000 (10 highest countries). This means that port and terminal handling together with paperwork and delays can cost up to four times more than the actual transport.
To address these problems, MARINTEK is also working with maritime trade facilitation. This includes the development of "Single Window" technology, e.g., through the ISO 28005 series of standards and participation in IMO trade facilitation activities. In IMO we have contributed to the new "Guidelines for Setting Up a Single Window System in Maritime Transport" and we have provided experts to several of IMO's trade facilitation and single window seminars. The last seminar was in Manama in the Kingdom of Bahrain in April 2012 where 14 different organizations and private companies were represented.