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Special ships lift Europort momentum

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Forging relationships at Europort 2011

Focus on the specialised ships and innovative technologies that are proving resilient in difficult economic times in the maritime and offshore industries is ensuring that exhibition space at Europort 2013 (5-8 November 2013, Ahoy Rotterdam) is fast selling out.

Increasingly, investors are backing specialised niches as the growth areas in an industry whose mainstream activities continue to stagnate. Europort is consolidating its international reputation as the main event for the innovative technology developed to tap into the most promising market opportunities.

With exhibitors spanning interests in commercial inland and sea shipping, offshore, workboats and construction vessels, dredgers, fishing boats, mega yachts and the naval sector, Europort gathers together the trendsetters of the maritime sector. Visitors are offered a unique opportunity to investigate latest industry developments ranging from the remotest deepsea operations to shallow water ship design, and all points in between.

World Port City Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, is also the de facto hub for the continent’s marine equipment export industry.  Attracting over 30, 000 maritime professionals, Europort is a magnet for those in the global maritime chain seeking a competitive edge through advanced maritime technology.

Visitors at Europort 2011 watching a product demonstration on an exhibitors stand

With more than a year to go until its doors open, Europort exhibition bookings have been placed for more than 75% of the 40, 000m2 floor space, and Raymond Siliakus, Exhibition Manager of Europort, believes that the concentration on specialised ships is the key.

“In 2013 Europort will welcome participants to ‘The Platform for Maritime Pioneers’, he says. “As well as attracting the financiers backing the industry, the exhibition is themed to highlight innovation, cost efficiency, and sustainability. Visitors with ‘the environment’ high on their agendas can even follow a specially-designated ‘green route’ of exhibitors making demonstrable contributions to reducing environmental burdens.

“Europort visitors attend because the event showcases industry innovation, but also because they recognise that owners, designers and equipment makers depend on each other to turn aspirations on efficiency, environmental responsibility and safety into reality.”

In 2011, Europort’s 1, 000-plus exhibitors attracted visitors from 39 maritime nations. They included leading owners, brokers, charterers and policy makers, as well as the big names in shipbuilding, propulsion, auxiliary equipment, communication technology, classification and research. Already, 13 country pavilions have been announced for 2013.

Europort has evolved around an equally targeted conference programme and related ‘free of charge’ workshops on the theme of ‘Advanced Technology’ that will allow cutting edge views to be exchanged. Core themes include cost efficiency, sustainability and deep sea mining. The programme will also focus on the upgrading of ships, limitation of emissions and fuel consumption, use of LNG, ballast water management systems and safety concepts.

“Europort also benefits from its location at the heart of one of the world’s leading maritime clusters, with a well-justified ‘state of the art’ reputation”, says Mr Siliakus. “The Netherlands has the largest order book for new ships in Europe (112 ships), all of which are special purpose vessels. It is also home to the largest fleet of inland vessels in Europe, the second largest builder of mega yachts in the world and one of the top five producers of offshore vessels. The four largest dredging companies in the world are also located in the Benelux countries. “Earlier this month, Port of Rotterdam and Port of Gothenburg signed a strategic agreement to encourage the development of liquefied natural gas as a maritime fuel. Both ports emphasised the important opportunity that emissions regulations represent for the maritime industry innovators. It is no coincidence that one of the key conference streams at Europort 2013 focuses on LNG, with contributions from specialists in ship design and technology and inland logistics. “No other industry event has a comparable track record in complex special-purpose ships.”

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