Friday, January 5, 2018

Maritime Event Increases in Popularity as Visitor Numbers Rise

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Executives Mingle with Shipbuilders
Shipping News Feature
CHINA – Attendance figures are in for the recent Marintec Conference and Exhibition held in Shanghai in December and this, the 19th incarnation of a definitive event in the Asian, and indeed world, shipping calendar. Visitors this year numbered over 65,000, up 5% against the 2015 figure, the last time the event took place in China. 2,100 exhibitors occupied 90,000 square metres seeing a scattering of freight forwarding and logistics interests pass through amongst a steady stream of those centred on the physical end of the maritime sector

The German pavilion dominated the fifteen national pavilions and ship builders and prospective purchasers alike took an interest in some major celebrations, including deal signing ceremonies and product launches, which were organised during the four-day fair centred on Chinese innovation in the field. There was the official announcement marking the delivery of the first Chinese smart ship, the 38,000-tonne Idolphin smart bulk carrier, Great Intelligence, built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), with Lloyd's Register and China Classification Society (CCS) also participating in the project.

Autonomy is a current buzzword in the industry and we saw China's first unmanned cargo ship classified by CCS, named Jindouyun, unveiled. In this project, Wuhan University of Technology, CCS, the Zhuhai municipal government and Zhuhai Yunzhou Intelligence Technology Ltd signed a memorandum of cooperation to jointly launch the world's first small unmanned cargo ship.

Staying with the theme we saw the inauguration ceremony of the China Smart Ship Innovation Alliance held during Marintec China. The alliance, whose members include CCS, CSSC, CSSC Systems Engineering Research Institute, and Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI), aims to accelerate the technological advancement and industrial development of smart ships. Meanwhile the new 210,000 tonne dual-fuel bulk carrier built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co was awarded Approval in Principle by France's Bureau Veritas and the UK's Lloyd's Register whilst MAN Diesel & Turbo signed a framework agreement on technical cooperation with CCS.

There were of course a host of new products presented. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation displayed a model of a 20,000 tonne marine nuclear-powered platform, a submersible marine nuclear-powered platform, a nuclear-powered safety ship, and a nuclear-powered icebreaker. The first appearance at Marintec by the CRRC Corporation showed off an array of marine and offshore equipment from more than 10 companies in the group, with the China Ship Design & Research Centre introducing its model for the Beluga AT110 Arctic oil tanker.

Siemens demonstrated its fully integrated green-ship solution SISHIP and other latest offerings including its PLM Software product lifecycle management solutions and signed a separate strategic partnership agreements with COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry Co and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Offshore Co., whilst Wärtsilä introduced the industry's first retractable thruster with a tilted propeller shaft configuration, the WST-24R, which is designed to provide auxiliary manoeuvring capability in dynamic positioning or station keeping operations.

The usual discussions on today’s hot topics at the parallel and popular Senior Maritime Forum included the Ballast Water Management Convention which came into effect on 8 September, and the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of the Chinese government. Ms Stella Fung, Event Director commented on the success of this year’s event saying:

“This marks a special moment in Marintec China’s history, it’s the first time it’s been held in the market downturn, it is very encouraging to receive such positive responses from both exhibitors and visitors. The buoyant atmosphere at the fair, full of energy, lent tremendous feel-good prospects for the global maritime industry.”

UBM, a global events-led marketing and communications services business, which organises Marintec China fairs, points out that in 2019, Marintec will have achieved 40 years of serving the maritime industry and, looking forward to the success of the next edition of the biennial Chinese event, Mr Michael Duck, Executive Vice President of UBM Asia Ltd, said:

“We have already decided that '40 Years of Serving the Maritime Industry' will be the slogan of Marintec China 2019.”

The fair will return to Shanghai in 3-6 December 2019.

Photo: The ‘smart ship’ Great Intelligence.