SMM surprises the wave of exhibitions again with the return of the international maritime show

After a four-year hiatus from live exhibits, the maritime community gathered at Hamburg again (September 6-9, 2022) for the four-day SMM show. With the 2021 show being a virtual affair, it was a successful in-person return to the port city for SMM.

Supply chain disruption, alternative propulsion technologies, e-fuels were all topics of discussion at the 30th edition of the show, as attendees discussed the challenges facing the shipping industry. It is an industry that faces the enormous challenge of gradually modernizing its fleet of around 60,000 merchant ships to make them more environmentally and climate friendly.

Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO, Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH, reported that the 2022 show takes up the entire exhibition campus of the site. There were 2,000 exhibiting companies and 30,000 industry visitors from over 100 countries.

“It fills me with pride that we have been able to win over so many representatives of high-level companies and institutions and so many accomplished experts for this event, both on the exhibitor side and for the accompanying conferences,” said said Aufderheide.

Speakers at the show conferences included: Claudia Müller, German Federal Maritime Coordinator, Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO, MAN Energy Solutions, Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy General Secretary, BIMCO, Steve Gordon, Managing Director, Clarksons Research and Wolfram Guntermann, Managing Director of business regulation, Hapag-Lloyd AG.

Gordon said he was surprised at how the shipping industry had handled the crisis, noting that global order books show shipyards are full for the next two to three years. The share of new orders for vessels with alternative propulsion systems is over 40%, including many new builds designed to run on LNG, he said. “We are only at the start of a huge energy transition, with a fleet renewal program that will require massive investment, technological change and innovation,” Gordon added. What is missing, he said, is not money, since “the shipping industry has gained well during the pandemic”, but rather the regulatory framework.

Aufderheide added that he was convinced that SMM would give the right impetus to the maritime energy transition: “I am sure that after these busy four days, visitors and exhibitors will take home a lot of important information – and come back to SMM in 2024.”

The SMM was officially inaugurated by its honorary patron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a video message. Scholz underscored the importance of the maritime sector saying, “’This ship has sailed’ (is a phrase) that we often use to mark a missed opportunity. But for you as SMM participants, every ship that leaves port and sets sail is an opportunity. And you’ve come to the right place to discuss these opportunities. He also highlighted the important role of shipping in transporting alternative fuels such as methanol and hydrogen.