It will be a record year for SMM, that much is clear four months ahead of the leading international maritime trade fair in Hamburg. More exhibitors, more participating nations, more visitors than ever: “We have been fully booked for months. More than 2,000 exhibitors will be showcasing innovative products from this market,” said Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH, during the advance press conference in Hamburg. Over 50 Journalists from all over the world had come to learn more about the upcoming SMM 2014.
In their opening address, HMC President and CEO Aufderheide, and Dr Herbert Aly, CEO and Managing Partner, Blohm+Voss, and a member of the SMM Advisory Board, gave an assessment of the state of the industry and a preview of the highlights of SMM 2014. “Our industry has reached a critical point. The market is getting more challenging and diversified. Anyone who wants to be part of the game in the future must take action now,” said Aly. His speech mainly focused on the current situation in the container shipping and shipyard segments. Shipowners are under enormous pressure, he said: “Fewer ships are being built, but they are getting larger. This is a clear indication of an especially fierce competition,” said Aly. Key markets with growth potential include offshore wind, cruise ships, naval ships, super yachts and offshore oil and gas, he added. “All major niche markets will also be represented at SMM. Visitors will thus be able to get first-hand information that will help them position themselves for future challenges,” Aly said in his opening statement.
Experts from all fields
The selection of subject matter experts reflected the new theme structure of SMM with each day focusing on one specific market sector. Finance, one of the key topics, was covered by Dr Reinhard Lüken, General Managing Director, VSM, who expects the industry to undergo substantial change in the near future: “Competitive financing schemes now play a key role in leveraging the enormous growth potential. The maritime industry’s paradigmatic change towards ever more complex, technically sophisticated solutions means that the finance sector, i.e. banks and guarantors, will likewise have to adapt their financing models,” said Lüken. Some of these models will be highlighted at SMM: “The SMM Ship Finance Forum is an attractive event format with internationally renowned experts. By including the perspective of the manufacturing industry it will offer new ideas and answers to SMM exhibitors and visitors alike.” Offshore, environmental protection, safety and security, defense, and recruiting are further key topics of the global lead fair.