【DE】World’s leading trade fair for the maritime economy: Shipping industry sets a clear course towards climate protection at SMM  

On Friday, the 30th ended. SMM, which from the 6th to the 9th September took place in the Hamburg exhibition halls. At the anniversary edition of the world’s leading trade fair, the maritime industry was determined to tackle the energy transition. Organizers, exhibiting and trade visitors drew a consistently positive balance of the event.

 

The enthusiasm was to be grasped with hands: After four years of waiting, the international maritime community finally met again at the SMM in Hamburg: 2,000 exhibiting companies and more than 30,000 trade visitors from over 100 countries formed the “United Nations of Shipbuilding” for four days. “The anticipation and expectations in the industry were enormous. I am all the more enthusiastic that we have once again been able to prove our position as the world’s leading trade fair, says Bernd Aufderheide, Chairman of the Management Board of Hamburg Messe und Congress. The maritime energy transition and the necessary technology and expertise as well as the clear will to change formed the common thread at the fully occupied exhibition center and in the accompanying conference program of the SMM. Retrofitting was therefore one of the big topics of SMM. Because the great challenge in the industry is the gradual retrofitting of the currently 60,000 merchant ships for more environmental and climate compatibility.

 

 

 

The special importance of the shipping industry for achieving the climate goals was also reflected in the political celebrities present. Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the World Navigation Organization IMO, was visibly impressed by the wide range of innovative technologies during his tour of knives. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, patron of SMM, said in a video message that it is more than welcome that SMM has focused on climate-friendly technologies, because “every innovation in the maritime sector benefits the global economy as a whole.” The Maritime Coordinator of the Federal Government, Claudia Müller, praised the motto “Driving the maritime transition” of the 30th SMM: “It perfectly describes the challenges facing the maritime industry today and at the same time makes it clear that we are driving these changes.”

 

 

 

Climate neutrality in sight

 

SMM provides important impulses for this, says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime, the main sponsor of the world’s leading trade fair: “SMM is one of the best events in the maritime calendar, it is truly global and with its focus on innovation, you get an insight into the future of shipping.”

 

 

 

The goal set by the industry itself is: climate-neutral shipping by 2050. Practical solutions are needed for this from engineering service providers, shipyards and suppliers, but also from fuel producers. As a marketplace of innovations, SMM is an important basis for investment decisions by German shipping companies. The focus is on the climate-friendly transformation of the maritime economy,” says Dr. Martin Kröger, Managing Director of the Association of German Shipowners. “We are in discussion with shipbuilding and supplier companies all over the world and experts. Many of them can be found at the SMM in Hamburg.”

 

 

 

Technologies for the energy transition

 

It is not for nothing that SMM is the international platform of the maritime industry, from small start-ups to world market leaders. This is how drive specialist Wärtsilä Voyage presented its new Fleet Optimisation System (FOS). “The holistic data analysis, travel planning and fleet performance platform can help maritime actors operate ships and fleets with optimal safety, efficiency and sustainability,” explains Sean Fernback, President of Wärtsilä Voyage.

 

 

 

The engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce presented fuel cell concepts, hybrid systems and engines that are to run with e-methanol. “We are clearly relying on this marine fuel for the future and want to lead the way here as a pioneer,” says Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce.

 

 

 

Mecklenburgische Metallguss (MMG) has flow-optimized ship propellers in its portfolio, with which Hapag-Lloyd, for example, retrofits many of its existing ships. Fuel and CO2 savings: more than ten percent. Representing this, an efficient MMG propeller welcomed the trade visitors at the entrance of the SMM.

 

 

 

The technology group ABB showed a new semiconductor circuit breaker for the next generation of safe and energy-efficient DC systems. Thorsten Strassel, Global Product Manager at ABB: “SMM is an ideal platform to present this innovative technology that will support the energy transition in the shipping sector.” Renewable energies, battery storage and intelligent grids are an essential factor in making the shipping industry more sustainable.

 

 

 

RWO, a leading provider of smart water management solutions, presented its latest oil separator (OWS) at the world’s leading trade fair. “We are pleased to be able to offer shipowners of larger ships an efficient, flexible and cost-effective OWS solution that is suitable for both new buildings and retrofitting projects,” says RWO Managing Director Stratos Papamichalis.

 

 

 

Retrofitting – i.e. retrofitting – was one of the big topics of the SMM anyway. Because one of the challenges is to gradually make the currently 60,000 merchant ships more environmentally and climate-friendly. This is also a huge market for Europe’s supplier industry, as Stephen Gordon, Managing Director of Clarksons Research, predicted.

 

 

 

Inventions such as the Mewis-Duct, for which the two shipbuilding engineers Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann received the German Environmental Award during SMM Week, make an important contribution to climate protection. Thanks to the flow optimizer offered by Becker Marine Systems, more than twelve million tons of CO2 have already been saved worldwide. Managing Director Henning Kuhlmann was glad that SMM could take place again in the usual setting: “Nowhere do customers, suppliers and market competitors meet as concentrated as at this important trade fair. We not only met old acquaintances, but also saw many new faces, it was linked to existing projects, but we also drew important new orders,” he said. Kuhlmann’s conclusion: “SMM is and remains Becker’s most important shipbuilding fair in the world.”

 

 

 

Networking and know-how transfer in the supporting program

 

The Expo was once again accompanied by top-class specialist conferences that addressed topics such as digitization (Maritime Future Summit), Maritime Research (Offshore Dialogue) and Security and Defense (International Conference on Maritime Security & Defense). This year, the environmental congress gmec (the global maritime environmental congress) received special attention: One of the panels was open to a wider public for the first time. Environmentalists and those responsible from industry discussed the responsibility of shipping for climate protection.

 

 

 

In addition to deepening specialist knowledge, the SMM makers consistently relied on networking formats and created a special stage for their topics with the new “Transition Stages” exhibitors. The presentation of the Start-up Award and the Maritime Career Market, where young talents were able to make contacts with interested companies, were further highlights. “There is no better opportunity to bring the diversity and breadth of our industry closer to both the public – including such important young talent – and political decision-makers,” summed up Dr. Reinhard Lüken, Managing Director of the Association for Shipbuilding and Marine Technology.

 

 

 

This is also confirmed by the surveys among visitors. After that, 97 percent stated that SMM was the most important trade fair for the maritime economy, 86 percent definitely want to be there again next time. 97 percent of visitors confirm that the SMM offers a very good opportunity to make international contacts.

 

 

 

The next SMM will take place from the 3rd to the 6th. September 2024 in Hamburg.

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