The 28th SMM conference is nearly upon us. Ed Martin attended an advance press conference to get the lowdown on what attendees can expect
The biennial SMM conference, organised by Hamburg Messe und Congress, is one of the highlights of the maritime calendar. With more than 50,000 visitors from more than 120 countries and 2,200 exhibitors from 66 countries expected to attend, the issues discussed will have repercussions far beyond the conference itself.
The motto for this year’s SMM is "Trends in SMMart Shipping" and technology will be a key theme. Hamburg Messe und Congress president and chief executive Bernd Aufderheide, speaking at the advance press conference in May, drew attention to what he described as “the mega-topic of 3D printing” which SMM, in cooperation with the North German Maritime Cluster, will present a special exhibition on. He also noted that deep-sea mining and polar research will be given special attention in the offshore area. "The green topic is one of our top priorities," said Mr Aufderheide, noting that SMM has been hosting the Global Maritime Environmental Congress (GMEC) conference since 2010 and now has an entire hall devoted to the topic of green propulsion.
Discussing the offshore element of the conference, Mr Aufderheide said that this year the relationship with the Arctic and polar region would come under focus and he also stressed the importance of wind energy: “Offshore is a very important topic when it comes to wind energy” he said, noting the WindEnergy Hamburg exhibition, which will take place three weeks after SMM, from 25th-28th September, with 60 companies exhibiting both at SMM and WindEnergy.
Joining Mr Aufderheide at the advance press conference were Hapag-Lloyd chief operating officer Anthony J. Firmin, MAN Energy Solutions executive board member Wayne Jones, Kleven Maritime co-owner and board member Kjersti Kleven, DNV GL chief executive Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen and Clarkson Research non-executive president Martin Stopford.
Mr Aufderheide said IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim would be speaking at the opening event on Monday 3rd September and that he would be joined by “very interesting people from the political field”, without elaborating.
Several conferences will take place around the main trade fair, kicking off with the Maritime Future Summit on 3rd September, a shipowners' forum on the 4th, GMEC on the 5th, Offshore Dialogue on the 6th and MS&D, the international conference on maritime security and defence, on the 6th and 7th.
To guide visitors to areas of specific interest, SMM has set up several “theme routes” covering security, green, digital, job and cruise and ferry-related exhibits at the trade fair.
This year’s Maritime Future Summit on Monday 3rd September is titled “Mind the Gap - Bridging Disruptive Technologies.” Mediterranean Shipping Company Germany’s CIO Hubert Hoffman will give the keynote speech, providing a liner company’s view on “new thinking in shipping.” The morning panel will cover sea traffic management, autonomous shipping and an East Asian perspective on the technology roadmap to 2020 and will feature the China Classification Society’s working group on intelligent shipping deputy general manager Wu Sun, the Swedish Maritime Administration’s communications officer Ulfe Siwe, and the National Maritime Research Institute of Japan project director of R&D Kohei Matsuo.
The afternoon panel will address the future of global transport systems and logistics, disruptive markets, digital twins and artificial intelligence, with contributors including the World Maritime University’s Volker Betram, DNV GL director of maritime technology Pierre Sames, and ABB Marine and Ports director of software and automation operations Mikko Lepistö, among others.
Taking place on Wednesday 5th September, GMEC’s topic this year is “Compliance - Control - Champions” and IMO’s Marine Environment Division acting deputy director for protective measures Tian Bing Huang will give the keynote.
The first panel will cover ballast water treatment and contributors joining Mr Huang will include US Coast Guard Office of Environmental and Operating Standards commandant Capt Sean T. Brady, Choice Ballast Systems senior compliance engineer Debra DiCianna and ABS director of business development Stamatis Fradelos.
The second panel will address how to deal with future environmental challenges through greenhouse gas strategy and emissions control, with panellists including Lloyd’s Register global sustainability manager Katharine Palmer, DNV GL Maritime business director for container ships Jen-Olaf Probst and Wärtsilä Marine Solutions general manager for market innovation Teus van Beek.
The third panel will look at the passenger shipping sector as an environmental pioneer, with contributors including The Fjords chief executive Rolf Andrè Sandvik, MSC Group executive vice-president for maritime policy and government affairs Bud Darr and MAN Energy Solutions head of four-stroke marine Lex Nijsen.
MS&D will take place on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th September and this year is titled “Preparing for Future Challenges”; the keynote speaker is Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Thorsten Kaehler, chief of staff of the German Navy. Panels across the two days of the conference will address matters such as regional maritime security and global warming as it relates to security, littoral operations and harbour protection, cyber security, technological cooperation, new technologies and unmanned systems.
Offshore Dialogue is focused on “Pushing the Limits - New Maritime Technologies for Future Needs.” The first panel will address the balance between use and conservation of the ocean and will comprise flash talks with contributors including Rolls Royce Marine vice-president of design and hydro Einar Vegsund, Jacobs University Bremen’s Andre Koschinsky and DEME Blue Energy general manager Joury Van Gijseghem.
The second panel will cover the Arctic and will again take the form of flash talks, with contributors including Norway’s Arctic Economic Council director Anu Frederikson, IMO’s Maritime Safety Division head of marine technology and goal-based standards Sandra Allnutt, and Hamburg Ship Model Basin head of the Arctic technology department Nils Reimer.
Looking at the other events surrounding SMM, the shipowners’ forum on 4th September will hold sessions titled “Germany’s New Dawn” and “Global Ambition”, there will be MariMatch networking events on the mornings of Thursday 6th and Friday 7th September and the Maritime Career Market will feature talks on issues such as WISTA, the organisation for women in the maritime sector; XING and LinkedIn profiles; and technical studies in the maritime industry.