As we all know, the world has been majorly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact of travel restrictions, projects being postponed, layoffs, and bankruptcies are continuing to impact the construction industry globally - with Norway being no exception. Since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, key players in the Norwegian market have tried to keep the wheels in motion, and fortunately, with new projects on the horizon, we can slowly look ahead with optimism.
A report presented by Atkins Norway and Oslo Economic in May 2020 showed that Prognosesenteret estimated a moderate decline in overall activity in the construction sector - predicting that turnover would initially fall by 4.4% before increasing by 2.2% in 2021.
The decline was indicated to be particularly evident in the construction of new housing; both residential and commercial buildings.
Nevertheless, there is an overall increase in the construction sector expected in the next couple of years as the largest companies in construction have confirmed that they have a good backlog of orders. This gives us an optimistic view when looking ahead at the upcoming projects that start in the autumn of 2021.
More than ever, the time has come for electrification, modernisation, and exciting tenders from large developers. 2021 will be the year where electric construction machinery and hybrid trains take to the stage and the railway sector will continue to grow with train lines, maintenance agreements, and new stations. We know that the Norwegian government is investing in major railway upgrades, such as Vestfoldbanen, Dovrebanen, and Østfoldbanen.
The size and scope of these projects mean that significant amounts of rock will be blasted and moved. Although travel restrictions are still enforced, it is believed that major international players will pre-qualify in 2021, and most likely also win major projects through digital tenders.
Current tenders include E6 Storhove - Øyer, E39 Lønset-Hjelset, E39 Stord - Os, and as well as the Rogfast project. The Stad ship tunnel is also confirmed and will be the world's first full-scale ship tunnel. According to “Anlegg & Transport”, approximately 80 billion NOK will be allocated to transport purposes by the government in 2021 - an increase of 8% compared to 2020.
More projects are likely to be announced in the near future, which means that companies should be ready to act and ensure that they have the right knowledge and competencies to act accordingly.
As the construction sector expects to see an increase in activity, more skilful employees will be high in demand. Thor Engineering has extensive experience in railways, roads, bridges, and buildings, and our consultants are market specialists with the right expertise that can be crucial for your company's future.
I look forward to brighter days with an increase in vaccinations and more interesting conversations about the developments in the Scandinavian Engineering Sector!