The Norwegian export credit agency, Export Finance Norway (Eksfin) is opening up new territory for state-backed financing with a solution that enables international customers to purchase ongoing services from a Norwegian exporter – a step beyond just capital goods and solutions that have been traditional recipients of its portfolio of loans and Triple A-rated risk guaran-tees.

Eksfin has kicked off its new line of competitive service financing with Jotun, a world-leading provider of marine coatings, and its revolutionary antifouling technology brand, Jotun Hull Skating Solutions (HSS). Jotun HSS offers high-performance antifouling, proac-tive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning, high-end technical support and a wide range of performance guarantees and service-level agreements in what is probably the first full-package solution of its kind in the maritime industry.

An essential component of the Jotun HSS offering is the onboard Jotun HullSkater, which is the world’s first robotic technology purpose-built for proactive hull cleaning. Jotun HSS operators control the HullSkater via a 4G connection remotely, performing condition moni-toring inspections and cleaning tailored to individual vessel schedules through a proprie-tary algorithm and big data.

In combination with Jotun’s premium Sea-Quantum Skate antifouling and a set of services, the HullSkater helps ship operators combat early stages of fouling and can potentially re-duce fuel costs and CO2 emissions by up to 12.5%, as well as mitigating the spread of in-vasive species in the world’s oceans.

The compact hull cleaner is produced in Norway and is the result of robust long-term de-velopment collaboration between Jotun and industrial partners Kongsberg Group, ship-owner Wallenius Wilhelmsen, telecoms provider Telenor, classification society DNV GL and product development specialists SemCon.

While rolling out the Jotun HSS concept it was important for Jotun to put an attractive fi-nancing package in place to incentivize customers. It approached Eskfin ,which together with Norwegian bank DNB has designed a solution whereby Eksfin has set a customer funding framework amounting to USD $150 million (approximately NOK 1.3bn), of which DNB is guaranteeing 50%.

“We are really happy to be supporting Jotun and their foreign clients in this transaction,” said Eksfin CEO Tone Lunde Bakker. “We used a lot of time to come up with a workable solution, and in the future we want to boost our portfolio with similar financing arrange-ments to facilitate the expanded purchase of services from Norwegian exporters.”

“By 2030, DNB will finance and facilitate sustainable activities worth NOK 150 billion, and reduce emissions intensity in the shipping portfolio by one-third from the 2019 level. The agreement with Jotun supports our investment in new, sustainable solutions very well,” said Trine Loe, Global Head of Future & Tech Industries, Corporate Banking, at DNB.

“Jotun HullSkater is a great investment that significantly reduces fuel burn and emissions. Eksfin’s very attractive financing means many more shipowners and operators around the world can put the solution into effect, saving operational costs and contributing to lower-ing green-house gas emissions from shipping,” said Geir Axel Oftedahl, breakthough (in-novations) director, Jotun Performance Coatings. Moreover, Jotun estimates that if all ships in challenging operations converted to Jotun HSS, it would result in a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 40 million tons per year.

Such solutions serve not only to reinforce Norwegian technology development and exports – which is Eksfin’s main objective – but also allow customers globally to benefit. “It’s a win-win for all sides and, as with our wide range of loans and risk guarantees, we really want both international buyers and companies here in Norway to understand that we can do a lot to help them,” said Lunde Bakker.

She also emphasizes the importance of supporting environmental technology that acceler-ates the transition of shipping to a low-carbon future. “A cleaner hull means the ship goes faster through the water and uses less fuel, resulting in cleaner oceans as well as a re-duced environmental footprint. We give that a big thumbs-up,” she said.

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