Support for NEVA 2011, the international maritime conference and exhibition taking place in St. Petersburg between September 20th and 23rd this year, has gathered momentum both within Russia and internationally in recent weeks. Rod Keay, managing director of Dolphin Exhibitions, the event organiser, says: “Support in Russia, and the CIS as well, has grown exponentially since the beginning of the year.”
The event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is increasingly being viewed within Russia as not simply a niche maritime exhibition, but as a global business-to-business event. As a result it is being backed by the domestic business community at the highest level.
This is reflected in official support for NEVA 2011 for the first time from both the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr A N Sokhin, president of the RUIE, recently described NEVA 2011 as ‘a leading international event’ and a ‘powerful tool’ which makes a ‘high value input to international co-operation and innovation’.
Similarly, Mr G G Petrov, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Russian Federation has said: “We expect the NEVA 2011 Exhibition and Conference will benefit the development of innovation for Russian shipbuilding, the development of national industry on the basis of advanced technologies, the promotion of maritime products and services to global markets, and the attraction of investments to the shipbuilding and offshore marine technology industries.”
Furthermore NEVA 2011‘s incorporation of port equipment and technology developments provides a platform from which to improve the competitive position of Russian Federation ports. For the first time NEVA 2011 has been officially recommended by the Association of Russian Commercial Sea Ports as an event in which ASOP committees for investment, infrastructure and technology should participate.
Major maritime companies in Russia will also be exhibiting. For the first time, NEVA 2011 will see a significant presence from the Russian integrated shipbuilding group, United Shipbuilding Company (USC). Its participation in the exhibition will showcase the capabilities of all yards and design bureaus that are members of USC.
There is a growing belief that NEVA 2011 will not just deliver benefits for the Russian Federation, but for the wider group of CIS states as well. Mr Ch Izmailov, president of the executive council, CIS Transport Coordination Council points out that the location of St. Petersburg, which is a hub for shipbuilding and repair yards and sea and river transportation infrastructure, presents a significant opportunity for companies and organisations in the Russian Federation and CIS to come together to seek improved transport efficiencies. The most recent example is the official support confirmed this month by the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Ukraine via the Ukrainian State Administration for Sea & River Transport ‘Ukrmorrechflot’. “There are unique possibilities to use the NEVA-20011 exhibition to discuss types of ships, port equipment, modern navigation and ship safety systems, and innovative IT technologies to increase port competitiveness,” says Mr Izmailov. “Frank dialogue and pragmatic cooperation is the optimum basis on which to increase transport efficiency.”
NEVA 2011 is also shaping up to be a vital bridge between shipbuilding and shipping interests in Russia and the CIS and international organisations. For the first time this year the European Shipbuilding Association (CESA) is on the Conference Advisory Committee, providing a further opportunity for the development of closer ties between the Russian and EU maritime sectors. Mr Keay adds: “The membership of the Advisory Committee is the strongest since 1991 from the Russian side, and includes the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation and, for the first time, representatives from Gazprom.”
The event will also be used by international groups for formal and informal discussions with Russian interests, headed by over 17 national pavilions and industry groups. German and Dutch marine equipment associations have already scheduled meetings with their Russian counterparts. “These groups have clearly identified the opportunities as 50 vessel types are due for construction for Russian interests, totalling over 800 newbuilds in the next few years,” adds Mr Keay. The Russian commercial sea fleet now totals some 1,500 vessels with annual shipbuilding orders placed outside Russia estimated at around US$1 billion.
The international presence at NEVA 2011 exhibition will be much broader than in previous years. Singapore has confirmed that it will have a national pavilion while South Korea will be represented by a national industry group for the first time. “We have seen big increases in exhibitor numbers from Poland and Turkey, and we have also recently signed up the UK Shipbuilding and Shiprepairers Association,” says Mr Keay. “Since January, demand for exhibition space internationally has really taken off and we are well ahead of where we were at the same point in 2009.” The global reach of NEVA participation is also underlined by the appearance of first time exhibitors from Japan and Israel.
This year Dolphin has secured two additional exhibition halls, taking the number available to eight, and seven of these are already sold out. “My message to the industry, both inside and outside of Russia, is that if you are interested in participating in NEVA 2011 act quickly or it will be too late,” adds Mr Keay.
Interest in the conference that will be held alongside the exhibition is also gathering pace and Mr Keay highlights the fact that for the first time there is a specific forum on inland waterway developments. He says: “There is a growing awareness that Russia has to tap into its inland waterway resources and use them to enhance transport efficiency. The formerly closed Russian inland waterway community is starting to see the Russian Federation as part of a wider European inland waterway system and NEVA 2011 is taking place at precisely the right time to build international cooperation in this sector.”
This high profile focus stands alongside the central themes of shipbuilding, maritime Arctic developments, a specialist focus on shiprepair, the reconstruction of the fisheries fleet and the establishment of a major offshore support fleet.