The industry meets again in Hamburg for the first time since 2018 (© HMC)
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2,000 exhibitors and around 40,000 visitors from more than 100 countries are expected by the SMM organisers from 6 to 9 September in Hamburg. Digitalisation and decarbonisation are the trend topics of this year’s edition of the trade show.[ds_preview]

Whether it is about digital or green innovations, SMM is due to the organisers, Hamburg Messe und Congress (HMC) the perfect stage. From 6 to 9 September 2022, it will be the meeting place for representatives of shipping companies, suppliers, shipyards and scientists to share views and ideas, expand their networks and do business.

»Ellen« has set a new world record, travelling as much as 92 km on a single battery charge. »This is the longest distance an electric ferry capable of carrying both passengers and vehicles has travelled anywhere in the world,« says Henrik Hagbarth Mikkelsen, Senior Lecturer at Marstal Naval Academy, who was involved in the development of the ferry. The drivetrains and propulsion engines were supplied by the Danish company Danfoss, while the two fixed-pitch propellers were made by Piening Propeller. The battery packs – the world‘s largest, with a capacity of 4.3 MWh – were provided by the Swiss battery specialist Leclanché. These are just three of the roughly 2,000 international exhibitors represented at SMM where the industry’s who-is-who will gather, the HMC says.

IMO’s Secretary General Kitack Lim (left) is also expected to be at SMM this year. Pictured here with Ulrich Selbach and ICS-Chairman Esben Poulsson (© HMC)

Sustainable technologies

This will be the 30th edition of the leading international maritime trade fair, an event which keeps reinventing itself: »This year we will be offering even more opportunities for networking, and a wider selection of free content. For the first time SMM participants will be able to present their knowledge or product novelties on so-called Transition Stages,« says Claus Ulrich Selbach, Business Unit Director – Maritime and Technology Fairs & Exhibitions at HMC. The themes these stages highlight reflect the SMM motto »Driving The Maritime Transition«: One stage will be dedicated to alternative propulsion systems, environmental technologies and sustainability, another one will focus on automation, digitalisation and data management. The third stage will address interior design, outfitting and technologies for passenger ships as well as challenges and opportunities facing the cruise industry. »Following the speeches and presentations, our new networking format ›It’s wine o’clock‹ will provide a relaxed environment for exhibitors and visitors to share thoughts and views,« Selbach adds.

This is exactly what makes SMM special, believes Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO Maritime at DNV: »It is a place to inspire and be inspired, coming face-to-face with the individuals, technologies and services that will write the next chapters in the story of how we conduct responsible commercial activity within the ocean environment.«

Exploring new terrain

Hapag-Lloyd is a company that is constantly looking for new inspiration and more sustainable solutions. »For us, SMM is the ideal platform to get a complete overview of the latest technical innovations and to meet important suppliers from all over the world«, says Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management. The world‘s fifth-largest liner company enjoys a reputation as green pioneer. For example, Hapag-Lloyd was one of the early movers in installing scrubbers and converting ships to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Their latest innovation: Sensors fitted to containers. In a global first, the Hamburg-based shipping company is installing transponders on its entire fleet of containers to allow early detection of supply chain disruptions. »We anticipate being the only ones doing so for at least one year,« says Hapag-Lloyd Director Container Applications Olaf Habert. During the Maritime Future Summit on 5 September – co-organised by HANSA – Chief Information Officer (CIO) Donya-Florence Amer will introduce the SMM community to the company’s digital strategy.

Automation is the focus of Rolls-Royce’s digitalisation efforts. The leading maritime technology company has developed a new ship automation portfolio. »We are the world‘s only supplier of ship propulsion systems to offer an electronic platform for monitoring and controlling the entire ship – our mtu NautIQ,« says Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. »This platform makes system integration much easier for our customers.« The German Navy relies on this innovative technology: Damen Naval will install it in the new F126 frigates.

Rolls-Royce has been one of SMM’s most faithful exhibitors. But apart from well-established market leaders, SMM also attracts start-ups, such as OneWeb, one of this year’s s first-time exhibitors. The British communications infrastructure company focuses on enhancing the network integration of ships by improving satellite connectivity. »SMM really attracts a very wide spectrum of companies from all segments of the maritime market, and we are looking forward to making contact with partners and customers during the event,« says Carole Plessy, Head of Maritime at OneWeb.

Marine Interiors meets SMM

After a global ban on cruises was imposed in April 2020, cruise ships around the world have now resumed operation – and the demand is strong. For the first time this year, the leaders of the passenger ship building sector will meet on European soil in the Marine Interiors area @SMM from 6 to 9 September 2022. A broad spectrum of exhibitor stands will be supplemented by a redesigned conference programme.

Marine Interiors 2019
For the first time, Marine Interiors is part of the SMM fair (© HMC)

There is hardly an industry that has suffered more severe setbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic than the cruise sector. In 2020 alone, it recorded losses of around 77 billion US dollars, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Now the steel giants are steaming across the oceans again, and spirits are high. »We are very confident about the summer season,« says Jörg Rudolph, General Manager of Costa Cruises. The bookings received so far exceed the 2019 pre-pandemic level, he adds. An optimistic outlook shared by luxury cruises and expeditions specialist Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: »We can sense how much our guests are longing to travel,« says speaker Karen Schmidt.

As for the ship operators, they are busy upgrading their fleets. After selling or scrapping many of their older assets over the past two years, they are now placing many orders for new tonnage. The global order book lists around 70 new cruise ships deliverable up until 2027. This raises suppliers’ hopes for many lucrative equipment orders. The Marine Interiors area @SMM offers maritime companies a perfect stage for their presentations to potential customers.

De Wave Group, Eumar Design, Kaefer Schiffsausbau, Lethe, Naval Interior or Rheinhold & Mahla – these are just a few of the well-known companies which will be exhibiting at the event. Shipbuilding meets design and style: more than 90 exhibitors will showcase innovative products and solutions in Halls B5 and B6. The Cruise & Ferry Route will guide visitors specifically to stands of suppliers to the cruise and ferry market. »The Marine Interiors area @SMM is unparalleled. No other trade fair anywhere in the world gives so many suppliers an opportunity to interact with leading cruise operators and passenger ship builders. Whether Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Fincantieri or Chantiers de l’Atlantique, they all come to us. The fact that Marine Interiors will occupy a section of its own at SMM this year further increases this added value,« says Claus Ulrich Selbach.

»Protecting The Seven Seas«

At the SMM numerous exhibitors will showcase technology innovations geared towards the needs of naval forces. In parallel with the exhibition, experts and high-ranking officials of international navies, the industry and international organisations will meet at the security conference MS&D to discuss defence challenges, technology developments and cybersecurity under the leitmotif »Protecting The Seven Seas«.

There is war in Europe: A sad reality for several months now. Military conflicts not only take place on land and in the air but increasingly on the water, as well – with far-reaching consequences: »This war is another heavy blow to the global economy, and that includes international shipping, logistics chains and ports. Many ships are stuck in the Black Sea, their crews unable to tell when they might be able to continue their voyages. Parts of the sea region are full of mines. The port city of Mariupol is destroyed, and Odessa has again been the target of massive Russian attacks,« said Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress, at the SMM advance press conference. The 30th edition will welcome the Who‘s Who of the maritime world to Hamburg again. At MS&D, the International Conference on Maritime Security and Defence held in conjunction with SMM, the discussion will focus on questions of defence policy and equipment for naval forces. At the trade fair, many exhibitors from the shipbuilding and supply segments will showcase innovations of interest to the military.

As the current international situation shows, global free trade is increasingly exposed to risks. The protection of sea routes for international commercial shipping is the subject of the keynote presented by Martin Kröger, Managing Director of the German Shipowners Association (VDR), at the beginning of MS&D. General (retd.) Egon Ramms, former Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command and one of the highest-ranking German officers in NATO, will outline the political and military lessons to be learned from the Ukraine war to date.

But Ukraine and its ports on the Black Sea are by no means the only political hotspots in the world, a fact underlined by the MS&D leitmotif: »Protecting the Seven Seas«. Around the world many nations are responding to the new security situation by increasing their defence expenditures substantially.

Arms buildup in the Far East

One of the panels of this year’s MS&D will address maritime security in the Indo Pacific region where maintaining low-friction relations between nations is considered as a major challenge. The Chinese government is continuously increasing its military spending at rates exceeding the country’s economic growth. Military expenditures in 2021 were at roughly 293 bn $ dollars. China aspires to replace the United States as the strongest military power by 2049. On the water, the People’s Republic is already in the lead: »Between 2014 and 2018, China added naval ships equivalent to the total tonnage of the UK’s Royal Navy or the entire Japanese naval fleet to its already considerable navy,« said Sarah Kirchberger, Head of the Department for Strategic Development in Asia-Pacific at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University. »This naval armament policy is practically unequalled in history.« In her speech, Kirchberger will explore the objectives and potential of the Chinese navy.

China’s massive military investments are giving rise to worries among neighbouring countries, prompting them to strengthen their ties among each other. For example, Australia and Japan agreed a security cooperation as early as 2007. Joint exercises between the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Royal Australian Navy have reinforced their relations. The goal is to pave the way for peace and stability in the Indo Pacific region, the Japanese foreign ministry has said. The German navy’s ability to cooperate with East Asian navies on securing key shipping routes was demonstrated recently when the frigate »Bayern« participated in a large manoeuvre of the Japanese navy. Deep Sea Captain Rtd. Joachim Gutow will explain at MS&D how the German navy is re-establishing itself as a partner in the Far East.

Strategic competence

Apart from scientists and industry experts, a number of high-ranking naval officers will provide insights during the conference. Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan Said, Commander-In-Chief of the Egyptian navy, will speak about the security situation in the eastern Mediterranean. Rear Admiral Henning Faltin from NATO COE CSW will discuss the importance of protecting military installations in coastal regions. The role of the German Maritime Forces Staff in securing the Baltic Sea will be the subject of a speech by Rear Admiral Stephan Haisch from the German navy – a topic very much in focus today because of Russia’s aggressive behaviour.             ED