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SMM maritime fair to focus on digitalization

Over 2,100 exhibitors and 50,000 trade visitors expected. Focus on green propulsion and digitalization

The leading international maritime trade fair, SMM, will take place from September 6-9, 2016 at Hamburg’s fairgrounds. More than 2,100 exhibitors will showcase their exhibits and technical innovations and roughly 50,000 trade visitors from ten nations are expected, said Messe Hamburg Thursday (June 2) during a press conference in the run-up to the fair. Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH, said: “SMM lends fresh impetus to the industry and delivers clear answers to address its current challenges and developments.”

Recurring theme of digitalization

Digitalisation is a key topic and will be a common theme on each fair day. “Green Propulsion” is another focal topic and a new 3,5000 square metre Hall A5 will emphasize innovative ship propulsion technologies.

Smart shipping solutions

Speaking at the press conference, Martin Stopford, Non-Executive President of Clarksons Research Services, reviewed market developments and trends in the maritime industry. Shipping companies face low freight and charter rates, increased cost pressure and stringent environmental restrictions. So far in 2016, shipyards have experienced the lowest number of new building orders since the 1980s, he pointed out. The remainder of 2016 will be difficult, he added.

Smart shipping is one way of overcoming these problems, said Stopford. Rapidly evolving information and communications technology (ICT) has enormous potential for improving fleet operations and transport productivity and will likely be key to the survival strategy of shipping, he added.

Rising risk of cyber-attacks

Cyber-attacks were also on the agenda as sophisticated onboard, computer technology is increasing the risk of cyber disruption, data theft and industrial espionage. Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General of BIMCO, highlighted the risks faced by ship-owners and how to effectively fend off cyber-attacks.

Early in 2016, BIMCO formed an alliance with international shipping associations such as the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) to publish its first cyber security guidelines. Pedersen added: “These provide guidance in selecting and applying the necessary procedural and technical means and methods to guard against cyber-attacks and limit the potential damage, should the defences be breached.”

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