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SMM Advance Press Conference © Hamburg Messe und Congress/Michael Zapf

SMM 2018 to focus on digitalisation and new fields of growth

Digitalisation, environment-friendly drive technologies and disruptive markets top agenda

Over 2,200 exhibitors from 66 countries and some 50,000 trade visitors from more than 120 nations are expected at the Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Fair (SMM) underway in Hamburg from September 4-7, 2018 to get an idea of trends and innovative technologies. The biennial fair will also feature a first Shipowners’ Forum in co-operation with TradeWinds and emphasising financial issues, a press release said Friday.

Shipbuilding under pressure

During a press conference on May 25 in the run-up to SMM, experts and representatives of the industry gave a teaser of the major themes at the fair. Commenting on the present market, Dr. Martin Stopford, the non-executive president of the maritime consultancy Clarkson Research, said: “Although some shipping segments have recovered, the mood remains subdued. “Over the last two years, shipbuilding companies have come under increasing pressure.” Less than half the tonnage would be delivered in 2018 than in the boom year 2011. The ongoing crisis has triggered strong consolidation among liner shipping companies. Stricter, international environmental regulations are adding to the pressure. Some experts believe new regulations e.g. on CO2 emissions and ballast water management tend to stimulate the business of shipbuilders and suppliers. However, this requires the right technology.

Opportunities of digital transformation

Experts expressed confidence that “digital transformation will forever change the shipping industry and pave the way to new business models”: Real-time cargo and route information, for instance, as well as data on the operation and condition of vessels and components will make supply chains far more adaptable and efficient in future. Bernd Aufderheide, CEO of Hamburg Messe- und Congress, said forward-looking topics would be pivotal at SMM. Conferences focusing on digitalisation, environment, security and defence as well as deep-sea mining and polar research would impart crucial knowledge needed to tackle present and future challenges. “We want to deliver concrete answers to the industries most pressing questions, and are looking forward to welcoming exhibitors, industry visitors and conference participants from more than 100 countries when Hamburg once again becomes the epicentre of the maritime world for four days.”

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