At the beginning of 2008, the order book was estimated by the British shipbuilding market experts of Lloyd's Register - Fairplay (LRF) at 10,055 ships ordered, and 329.7m gross tons (GT). By the beginning of July those figures were up more than 10 percent to 11,200 newbuildings and 363 million GT – a new high. So the maritime equipment suppliers among the total of 1,950 exhibitors from 55 nations will have full order books to show at SMM 2008. This premier fair of world shipbuilding will for the first time occupy all eleven exhibition halls of the New Hamburg Trade Fair at the 23rd shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology, international Trade Fair Hamburg, to be held from September 23 to 26, which means more exhibition space than ever before, at 87,000 square meters. The organizer Hamburg Messe looks forward to attendance by 47,000 trade visitors from all parts of the world.
There will be more than 300 first-time SMM exhibitors, including seven leading Korean shipyards, who are presenting themselves at the Korean pavilion under the heading of “New Challenge through Innovative Creativity for a Better Future”. In fact, the success already achieved by Korean shipyards is hard to improve on. Clarkson Research indicates that Korean shipbuilders took orders for over 431 newbuildings in the first half-year 2008, for a total of 12.4 million CGT (Compensated Gross Tons – the tonnage weighted with the amount of work needed for the respective ship type). That was more than 50% of all newbuilding orders worldwide, and confirms their number one position among the shipbuilding nations, ahead of , whose yards accounted for 34.3% of new CGT tonnage ordered in the first half of 2008. Even though shipowners were more reticent in their orders in the first half of this year than in the first half of last year, all shipyard capacity is booked for a number of years with new orders for more than 190 million CGT. ’s share of that is 35.2% according to LRF, closely followed by with nearly 31%. That means the Chinese shipbuilding industry has definitively overtaken (market share 16.4%), which now takes third place. And the leading shipbuilding nations have to get used to more new names – the Philippines (in 5th position for orders taken worldwide, with a 1.4% market share), Vietnam (6th position with 1.4% market share) and India (9th position with 1.2%). ’s neighbors have been following her rise to shipbuilding power carefully, and have invested heavily in their own shipbuilding industries. In Europe, the German shipyards lead the field (4th place with a market share of 1.9%) ahead of (7th place with 1.3%), (8th place with 1.3%) and (10th place with 1.2%).
Nearly 1500 newbuildings were delivered in the first six months of this year, with a total of 21 million CGT.
The dynamism of world shipbuilding is also reflected at SMM 2008. The Chinese exhibitors have doubled their exhibition space compared with the previous SMM. And more Korean companies are coming to this year, too. 60% of all exhibitors have their head offices abroad. Apart from as the SMM host country, the have the largest contingent of exhibitors, followed by the with 120 companies and and with 97 each.
More countries than ever before are represented at this year’s SMM. For the first time, there are also companies from , , and . Vinashin (Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Corporation), the umbrella organization of the Vietnamese shipbuilding industry, has returned to the world’s premier shipbuilding fair after a temporary period of SMM abstinence. The national pavilions give a concentrated overview of the capabilities of various countries – there are 22 of these pavilions at SMM 2008.
The keynote topics at SMM 2008 are environmental protection and energy savings. Hall A1 in particular is a forum for companies offering environmental protection technologies and products, and treatment systems for ballast and freshwater, oil separation systems and environmentally sound waste disposal systems, etc.