The shipping industry and the member states of the Arctic Council have established a new forum for shipping in the Arctic.

The first meeting of the new Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum took place in London Monday.

"The Arctic countries and the shipping industry want to facilitate secure and environmentally friendly shipping in the High North, and we believe the new forum may contribute to this," said Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland (Conservatives).

The forum has been established by the Arctic Council's Protection of the Arctic Environment working group, now that the Polar Code has entered into force. The Polar Code is a globally binding regulation for ships sailing in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

"More than 80 percent of Arctic shipping today takes place in Norwegian waters. We thus have a particular responsibility for secure and environmentally friendly shipping in these areas," Mæland said.

The forum allows the parties to share their experiences with the Polar Code. It aims to contribute to better practicing of the Polar Code on a global scale.

"The establishing of this forum is quite unique in an international context, and it comes as a result of good cooperation between the authorities, the industry and research environments," Mæland said.

The establishing of the Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum is supported by the International Maritime Organisation, the International Chambers of Shipping as well as by major cruise operator organisations.