DNV GL is a global quality assurance and risk management company. Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, we enable our customers to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas, power and renewables industries. We also provide certification, supply chain and data management services to customers across a wide range of industries. Combining technical, digital and operational expertise, risk methodology and in-depth industry knowledge, we empower our customers’ decisions and actions with trust and confidence. We continuously invest in research and collaborative innovation to provide customers and society with operational and technological foresight. With origins stretching back to 1864 and operations in more than 100 countries, our experts are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

Company details

Veritas veien 1 , Høvik , 1363 1363 Norway

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Business Type:
Software vendor
Industry Type:
Environmental - Environmental Data and IT Systems
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Over 1000

This company also provides solutions for other industrial applications.
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DNV GL’s shared roots stretch back to 1864, when Det Norske Veritas (DNV) was founded as a membership organisation in Oslo. Norway’s mutual marine insurance clubs banded together to establish a uniform set of rules and procedures, used in assessing the risk of underwriting individual vessels. The group aimed to provide “reliable and uniform classification and taxation of Norwegian ships”.

At the time, the Norwegian shipping industry was experiencing rapid growth and breaking out of its traditional local boundaries. An emerging, nationwide market for marine insurance was needed. Three years later in Germany, a group of 600 ship owners, shipbuilders and insurers gathered in the great hall of the Hamburg Stock Exchange. It was the founding convention of Germanischer Lloyd (GL), a new non-profit association based in Hamburg. 

GL was formed out of a desire to achieve transparency. Merchants, ship owners and insurers often received little information about the state of a ship. As an independent classification society, GL was created to evaluate the quality of ships and deliver the results to stakeholders. GL’s first international ship classification register from 1868 reports 273 classed ships. By 1877, the number had grown tenfold. The surveyor network extended rapidly as a result. 

The DNV fleet also grew rapidly. First agents, then permanent surveyors were appointed in a number of countries to serve Norwegian vessels abroad. Steamships were introduced in the 1870s, dramatically changing the classification business and the work and competence required of surveyors. 

GL and DNV began collaborating from the very beginning. DNV Council records from September 1868 list plans to create a common class register for the two organisations. These discussions were ultimately unsuccessful, as were similar talks in 1891 over the mutual recognition of certificates and a common ship register.

Social drivers
Society became an increasingly demanding stakeholder in the predominantly private, liberal industry. Load lines developed by Samuel Plimsoll became compulsory on every British ship from 1891, saving the lives of seamen along the British coasts. Load lines became mandatory in Norway in 1907. 

The Titanic disaster in 1912 brought safety at sea to the forefront of public concern. International classification societies played an important part in discussions on ship safety. Nevertheless, GL’s managing director Carl Pagel and Johannes Bruun from DNV were the only official classification industry delegates at the adoption of the first International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). 

The cost of war
For GL, the First World War was a severe setback. International relationships were severed and foreign-flagged ships changed class. The inter-war period represented improvement and new growth until the Second World War took its toll. Germany’s economic recovery following WWII led to rapid improvement and growth for GL. 

After WWI, the transition from sailing ships to steamers brought a fundamental change in technology and skills needed for the classification industry. The outdated rules were no longer in harmony with the shipbuilding methods of the time. Between 1920 and 1940 DNV was technically independent, and established a new culture prioritizing engineering, construction and design. Then came the hardships of WWII, and DNV was almost split as an organization.