PHIL-NORWAY RELATIONS EXPANDING
Positive expectations are generated with the installation of Carl Martin Faanessen as president of the Philippines-Norway Business Council (PNBC). Faannessen was formerly with SN Power and Aboitiz-Jebsen, now an individual member of PNBC.
He assumes with bullish optimism, buoyed by larger Norwegian investments in maritime, energy and industrial products. He also encourage Filipino entrepreneurs to evaluate opportunities to do business in Norway.
From the Embassy.
Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Bjørn Jahnsen, send in a message on Faannessen installation reiterating commitment on strengthening relations between the two countries.
“Despite the challenges with the pandemic, I am encouraged by several Norwegian companies pursuing projects and investments in the Philippines. Undoubtedly this is more difficult in these circumstances, but the Embassy provides assistance when possible.
Norway’s presence in the Philippines has traditionally been focused on shipping and energy. Covid’s impact on the maritime sector is of great concern to all of us. As you know, the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association has recently opened a “quarantine hotel” for its members in Manila to ensure the safe boarding of Filipino seafarers on Norwegian ships.
In the energy sector we are confident that since the need for energy in the Philippines is widely distributed, demand will continue to grow.”
More importantly, Ambassador Janhsen says, “…(W)e remain optimistic for the Philippines as a country. The population is young, and the fundamentals for continued growth are in place. I recently read a forecast predicting that those who are in their 50s today, may live to see a Philippine economy larger than that of Spain! A highly capable population, beneficial demographics and proximity to rapidly developing countries – all will help propel the Philippines forwards.”
PNBC President Faannessen responded with bullish optimism, citing positive strides since 2011 between the two countries.
Key elements are the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in the Philippines and PNBC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, both historically been built on the sea.
Aside from Filipino seafarers on Norwegian ships, Faannessen ticked off a portfolio of Norwegian businesses operating locally, viz:
- SN Power which invested early, and heavily, in renewable energy assets; bigger than Norwegian maritime companies.
- Jotun, one of the world’s premier developers and manufacturers of surface coatings has set up production here.
- Yara Fertilizers have long been present here.
- Norwegian seafood is beginning to enter the market.
Faannessen made it clear the business relations is both ways for Norwegian and Filipino entrepreneurs, able to help business in both directions.
“Please feel free to contact us; we treat all business-requests on a confidential basis”.
Training, Testing, Quarantine.
To ensure safety from virus infection, the Norwegian Training, Testing and Quarantine Center was established at the Manila Marriott Hotel, located at the heart of Pasay City, to welcome seafarers for their quarantine and testing period.
The project is in partnership with the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) to assure a virus-free seafarer before on-boarding based on guidelines by Norwegian medical experts.
A protocol in onboarding is to be parted from their families earlier to be quarantined and complete RT-PCR swab tests as negative. But some still come across as positive. To prevent this, the Center partnered with other centers to conduct two swab tests for the seafarers within the facility to increase the chances of detecting potential carriers while lessening the risks of moving in and out of quarantine.
Delectable meals are served from the hotel kitchen.
The Center offers via on-line learning method these courses:
- Mental Health Seminar
- Resilience Program
- Social Skills Awareness
- Behavior Based Safety
- Preparation for Port State Control Inspection
- Bunker Management
- Cyber Security Awareness for Maritime Industry
- Vetting Inspection Course
- Class and Statutory Surveys
All courses will be done through workshops, mentoring and instructor-led of NTC’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).