This year's conference drew 50,000 visitors and 2,200 exhibitors from 67 countries to Hamburg. With the industry in transition, the event was marked by discussion of new technological advances: high volumes of data streaming from ship to shore; the IMO 2020 low-sulfur mandate; and new alternative marine fuels and hybrid energy technologies. SMM was a high energy show, offering new products and innovative technologies, and it was exciting to witness.
While SMM is known for its shipbuilding, machinery and marine technologies exhibition, it is also packed with conferences, symposiums and workshops by internationally recognized speakers on critical global issues. This year, these included:
Maritime Future Summit: Evolution, not revolution
How quickly and radically will digitalization and automation change the shipping industry? Under the theme of "Mind the Gap – Bridging Disruptive Technologies", the summit panel examined the required organizational initiatives and the numerous obstacles that still must be overcome in day-to-day maritime business. "It is not the technology as such that presents the challenge but changing our way of thinking,” said Hubert Hoffmann, CIO & CDO of MSC Germany, in a keynote address at the start of the summit.
Shipping Industry Heads for Climate Protection
Lowering Exhaust Gas Emissions and Boosting Efficiency: The Global Maritime Environmental Congress, a forum of business and science experts, discussed how the global shipping industry can achieve the IMO’s ambitious environmental goals while continuing to provide its services at competitive prices. “We are at the beginning of a new chapter in the history of shipping,” said Tian-Bing Huang, Deputy Director - Marine Environment Division at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). There is no question that shipping sector is facing huge challenges, including the IMO's 2020 sulfur cap. The industry is also expected to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, despite the increase of global trade.
Ballast water treatment was discussed during three different panel groups, where speakers explored Preparing for Ballast Water Treatment; Dealing with Environmental Challenges of the Future; and The Passenger Shipping Industry as an Environmental Pioneer. The summation: Ambitious goals for treatment are both a challenge and an opportunity for the maritime industry.
Greenhouse gases: A panel of experts on who discussed one of the greatest problems facing mankind. While it is globally acknowledged that commercial shipping is the 'greenest' of all modes of transportation, its share of global CO2 emissions is estimated to be around two percent - an amount roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gases emitted by Germany each year. Meanwhile, according to forecasts, greenhouse gases are expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Solutions are needed immediately, and LNG has been the current focus - but it still lacks the necessary bunkering infrastructure, according to panelist Jan-Olaf Probst, business director for container ships at DNV GL.
The Maritime Executive's interviews at SMM
The Maritime Executive interviewed more than a dozen top industry leaders at this year's SMM, and we will be posting these discussions in the coming weeks.