The maritime industry goes from cycle to cycle, living with and by uncertainty. You could even say that our industry embraces risk. This means that “What’s next?” is always a relevant question – and one that gets some interesting responses.
During Nor-Shipping 2011, we discovered that the “what’s next” question really resonates with the industry when we used it to support the theme “Next Generation Shipping” for the event week. The standing-room only audience at the Nor-Shipping Opening Conference listened attentively as industry heavyweights and rising stars shared their insights and visions for the future.
Highlights included Trond Giske, Norway’s minister of trade and industry, suggesting that industry frontrunners going ahead of “slow politicians” with environmental solutions will be the winners. Teekay CEO Peter Evensen responded by emphasizing how voyage costs now steal 75% of revenues and suggested delegates must look to US aviation where fuel-efficient planes are replacing 737s and 747s.
Looking ahead, Siva Shipping COO Saravana Sivasankaran predicted Africa would become the ‘BRIC of the next decade’, while Frontline CEO Tor Olav Trøim said LNG “… might be the best business opportunity Norway has had since it discovered oil” and that it might save the industry from “the worst shipping market since the black death.”
As you can see, the discussion was lively.
The Conversation Continues
With Nor-Shipping 2013, we will continue the “What’s next” conversation, exploring the industry’s future via our conferences and the other value-added events that complement the exhibition.
Without a doubt, there are continually new challenges for all players in the industry – designers, engineers, builders, financers, owners, operators, cargo owners and so on. At Nor-Shipping, we make it our mission to provide an important meeting place for companies from across the entire maritime value chain and from around the globe to share solutions to common challenges, make strategic deals and network.
Nor-Shipping’s status as a high-level arena for peer-to-peer networking has been hard-won and requires constant effort. We are keen to enhance Nor-Shipping’s networking potential and to create channels for sharing business insight so that our delegates have an unbeatable range of opportunities for professional networking and socializing.
We have seen how the exhibition and conference create a framework for invaluable meetings to take place, and we are determined to maximize this aspect of the Nor-Shipping week. Nor-Shipping wants to create the perfect conditions for vendors and suppliers to meet leading players from the whole maritime industry – and we recognize that the most important conversations don’t always happen in a meeting room. Professional networking in social settings such as the Nor-Shipping barbeque is invaluable.
These connections are made both face-to-face and online – we want no generation gaps at Nor-Shipping. Nor-Shipping is a “community event” and we want to build an online community on the web and use social media that strengthens the physical event and appeals to the younger “digital generation”.
Attracting Young Talent
Attracting young talent – and keeping it – is crucial for the maritime industry’s future. One way is to promote the genuine lifetime of opportunity that the shipping world can provide, with attractive salary and career advancement and the added bonus of global travel.
We have done this by establishing Nor-Shipping Campus, a city center-based offshoot of the main exhibition, with a mission to attract and engage young people to a career in shipping , as well as to promote the industry to the general public. The maritime industry needs to become more visible and increase its focus on long-term recruitment
During the first-ever Nor-Shipping Campus in 2011, nearly 10,000 people, from students and the media to key politicians and maritime heavyweights, visited the event. The pavilions for the Campus event housed exhibitions by more than 40 representatives of Norway’s maritime cluster.
This was an important first step in enhancing the industry’s image that connected with bright young minds and succeeded in bringing shipping to the people. We will build on this experience to present an even better Nor-Shipping Campus in 2013.
The necessity to stay ahead of the “what’s next” curve is not just relevant for our stakeholders but also for Nor-Shipping itself.
During our 50-year history, we have developed from a niche shipbuilding exhibition into a weeklong industry-wide event filled with conferences, professional networking gatherings and countless other activities, with the exhibition at the center of it all. Our latest expansion is the strengthening of our conference program to include the offshore maritime segment.
The offshore shipping industry plays an increasing role in the global maritime industry, as demonstrated by the great interest in Nor-Shipping’s first-ever Agenda Offshore conference in 2011 at which the then CEO of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras José Sergio Gabrielli was a headliner.
Norway, with the second largest offshore service vessel fleet in the world and expertise in deepwater, harsh environment oil drilling, is a natural location for such an event. In fact, at the conference, National Oilwell Varco CEO Pete Miller referred to Norway as “the poster child” for how Brazil will develop its offshore oil and gas.
A meeting place for oil companies and the offshore shipowners and players on whom they are dependent to meet their targets remains just as relevant today. Expect the Agenda Offshore conference again in 2013.
Our aim is not only to repeat and improve on our successes from 2011 but to also raise the bar by broadening Nor-Shipping, making a world-class event even better.
As part of our plan to expand our support of the maritime industry, Nor-Shipping has played a key role in establishing Oslo Maritime Week. A new event organized by the Norwegian maritime cluster for local and international peers, it focuses on diverse maritime services via hot-topic seminars. Social events that gather all participants and encourage cross-industry networking are an integral component.
Taking place every second year, Oslo Maritime Week will alternate with Nor-Shipping. The synergies created by these interconnected events will create a powerful momentum for further raising the region’s international profile in the maritime industry. The inaugural event is scheduled for May 30 – June 1, 2012.
Some other new initiatives are scheduled to take place during Nor-Shipping 2013. These include: “Innovation Park”, where companies that have relevant solutions or products present themselves; “Venture Park”, which allows start-up companies to present to investors and to have an affordable first-time entry as a Nor-Shipping exhibitor; and Nor-Shipping Finance Week, a high-level arena for companies and new ventures to present themselves to private and institutional investors.
Look to Norway
While our visitors come from around 80 countries, the Norwegian maritime cluster’s strong presence at Nor-Shipping is a big attraction for many of our international delegates.
Norway is home to the most complete maritime cluster in the world, with every part of the value chain represented – from shipowners to shipbuilders, from shipbrokers and classification societies to technology providers. The result is unique multi-party collaboration, innovation and competence – all of which are on display at Nor-Shipping.
As part of our work with Oslo Maritime Week, research was recently commissioned to clarify the role of Oslo as compared to other leading maritime cities in the world.
Menon Business Economics benchmarked 12 cities in five categories – shipowners and shipping operation, maritime finance, maritime law and insurance and maritime technology and competence. The research confirms that Oslo is one of the top five global maritime capitals, shoulder-to-shoulder with Singapore, London, Hamburg and Hong Kong.
While a strong player in all of the measured categories, Oslo is shown to be the leader in maritime finance and on the commercial side, in terms of shipowners and shipping operations.
The Future is Maritime
Our emphasis on the question “What’s next?” makes it clear that Nor-Shipping is oriented towards the future. It may be true that predicting the future is “like peering through frosted glass”, as then IMO Secretary-General Efthimious Mitropoulos said at the Nor-Shipping 2011 Opening Conference. But we know that bringing the right people together and providing them with a dynamic networking venue makes things happen.
Just ask Sevan Marine’s Arne Smedal and Teekay Corporation’s Peter Evensen who met each other during our 2011event week. They worked throughout the following summer on a business model that would help save Sevan Marine, which was struggling with high debt. That autumn, Sevan Marine announced an agreement for financial restructuring and industrial partnership with Teekay Corporation.
(As published in the May 2012 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - http://www.digitalwavepublishing.com/pubs/nwm/maritimereporter/201205)