The countdown is on for the world’s leading maritime exhibition – the 25th shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology, international trade fair hamburg, which will be fully booked again this year. “We are already better placed than at the highly successful SMM 2010,” says Peter Bergleiter, Project Director at Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC), the SMM organiser. He adds that demand from the major shipping nations particularly in Asia is up again – China will be represented not only by numerous companies, but also by CSIC and CSSC, the most important shipyard associations; the Korean shipyard association KOSHIPA will also be there; and alongside the major Japanese shipyards also the Japanese marine equipment suppliers association JSMEA. There will be more than 30 national pavilions, including India and for the first time also Argentina, using SMM to present new developments and to generate international leads and cultivate relations with existing contacts.

All in all, over 2,000 exhibitors are expected from more than 60 countries – from specialist medium-sized companies to globally acting shipbuilding groups. Registrations already include over 150 first-time exhibitors at SMM. In response to the tremendous demand for space by exhibitors, SMM management has created additional capacities by construction of a high-quality temporary exhibition hall. That makes the biggest maritime exhibition in the world, which now has 90,000 square metres of in-hall space, more attractive than ever.

Environment and Financing

One of the thematic focal points will again be “Green Shipping” – the use of efficiency enhancing technologies is essential, due to the dramatic rise in fuel costs and above all the stricter international environmental requirements. An example of that is the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for newbuildings, adopted by the IMO in 2011 – these regulations stipulate the goal, but not the route used by the shipowners to get there. “Shipbuilders and engineers can compete to develop the best technology, and ultimately that will benefit the environment,” say Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). And ballast water management is another subject that is moving to the industry focus. The latest results from the research and development departments can be seen at SMM.

“Green Shipping” will be treated in depth at the global maritime environmental congress (gmec), to be held on 3 and 4 September. gmec is included for the second time as a premium event, firmly established in the supporting programme for SMM. It will comprise four workshops, where experts will discuss the reduction of CO2 and sulphur, ballast water management, and other important issues. gmec, like SMM as a whole, will again have the patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Financing is increasingly becoming a key factor in building of new ships, due not least to the stricter legal requirements applicable to the banks providing loans. One of the key subjects at the “Ship Finance Forum”, hosted by HMC together with Financial Times Deutschland for the fourth time now, will be the alternatives to conventional forms of financing at international level.

Offshore and maritime security

The SMM Offshore Dialogue is now also an established fixture at SMM. The 2nd Offshore Dialogue will feature industry experts discussing offshore oil and gas production, and offshore wind energy. The offshore segment is also one of the most promising future markets for the technologically leading shipbuilding companies and marine equipment suppliers.

Maritime security and defence will be another major theme at SMM 2012. “Holding the MS&D Conference (Maritime Security and Defence) in parallel with SMM opens up a new subject, which is becoming increasingly important,” says Peter Bergleiter. The daily threats to merchant shipping from piracy and the growing commitment of the naval forces in various operating areas show that civil security and military defence are increasingly interlinked. “Free shipping routes are the vital arteries of our economic system and our prosperity,” says Vice Admiral (ret.) Hans-Joachim Stricker, Chairman of MS&D international conference on maritime security and defence hamburg. The conference will bring together high-ranking international naval delegates and security experts to discuss current challenges and possible solutions – and the security equipment section will be prominently represented at the specially established exhibition space in the new Hall B8, with numerous technological innovations.

Presenting products, seeing innovations, meeting new customers, enhancing relations, closing deals – that is the business of SMM, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It is the top event for the international maritime industry, with more than 50,000 trade visitors, and an extensive supporting programme with more than 150 programme items. The official opening of the world’s leading maritime industry fair will be in the evening before the first day of the fair, that is the evening of 3 September 2012, at CCH-Congress Center Hamburg.