Seawork: success for commercial maritime industry
The international commercial marine industry converged on Seawork at the ABP Port of Southampton
Over 6500 members of the international commercial marine industry converged on Seawork 2012, with a significant amount of new business deals and vessel hand overs taking place.
As well as representation from every corner of the UK, many exhibitors commented on the increase in international visitors, which included those from Angola, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, the Falkland Islands, Japan, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Russia Federation, Sierra Leone, Singapore and the USA, plus a significant contingent from Europe. To support the export market, the UK Trade & Investment Defence Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) hosted 16 overseas Naval Attachés, representing foreign military and defence establishments, over two days at the exhibition.
A professional event
Seawork (ABP Port of Southampton, 22 to 24 May), which celebrated its 15th year in 2012, is now firmly established as a one-stop-shop for the international commercial marine industry. The quality of visitors continues to fulfil exhibitors’ requirements with over 80% stating that they were directly involved in purchasing decisions for their organisations. This is borne out by the experience of Meercat Workboats of Portsmouth. MD Peter Smith recounts: “Matt Dorman of Strangford Moorings introduced himself to us on our stand at Seawork and we gave him a tour of our yard during the exhibition. Within two days of the event closing, we had secured an order for a 17m asymmetric road-transportable Meercat, scheduled for delivery in the autumn. Once again, Seawork really delivered the goods for us.”
Seawork continues to succeed in attracting professional members of the commercial marine industry with nearly 50% of visitors citing ‘to see new products’ as the reason for their visit and 52% visiting to ‘meet customers and suppliers’. For three days each year, Seawork is the magnet for the industry to meet, greet, compare, contrast and make purchasing decisions.
A comprehensive display
The number and diversity of exhibitors, features and products at Seawork grows every year and, during the 2012 event, almost a quarter of visitors returned to the exhibition for a second day to complete their tour.
The Quayside, with a host of exhibits including live demonstrations in the DiveTank, and access to 300m of pontoon packed with nearly 60 craft – from a Dutch-built 32m catamaran to a 3.65m fast response craft - proved particularly popular with visitors during the three days of exceptional weather.
Inside, the two exhibition halls with special features including the Renewable Energy Pavilion, Maritime Security Pavilion and Innovations Showcase also hummed with activity, as professionals in the commercial marine industry met, negotiated and agreed deals. A demonstration by Lymington-based Harken of its power-assisted, sit-on ascender rising from floor to ceiling on day one provided an appropriately uplifting start to the event.
A sea of sales
During the exhibition a number of orders were placed, proving that the commercial marine industry, buoyed by the acceleration in development of the offshore wind industry, continues to thrive.
CTruk Boats secured an order for five vessels including four multi-purpose catamarans; Buckie Shipyard received an order for two offshore support vessels and South Boats Special Projects confirmed an order at Seawork from Hampshire Constabulary for a South Catamaran 12m Workboat.
Ben Colman, Technical Director of South Boats Special Projects, said: "We’ve enjoyed another highly successful Seawork this year, with no fewer than four Wind Farm Service Vessels on the pontoons. The number of visitors onboard has exceeded our expectations. Seawork allows us to network with a vast range of suppliers, operators and customers who exhibit and attend. It’s now our 'local international' event."
Engine manufacturers were also smiling – Swindon-based MAN Engines & Components UK secured an order four pairs of V12-1200 medium-duty engines, specified by MPI Workboats for four new 19m catamarans from South Boats and Scania sold two D16M 16-litre marine engines for use on a new passenger-carrying catamaran to be operated in the Solent by Solent & Wightline Cruises.
Also at Seawork, OSBIT Power announced the sale of its first MaXccess system to improve the safe transfer of service specialists onto offshore wind turbines to Siemens.
At the close of the three-day exhibition and conference, Andrew Webster, MD of Seawork organisers Mercator Media, commented: “The emergence world-wide of the offshore renewable energy industry has contributed to the growth of the commercial marine industry but Seawork continues to reflect the industry in its entirety. The diversity of exhibitors at Seawork and the positive feedback we’ve received strongly indicates that the sector remains active and healthy.”
The success of Seawork International 2012 can best be summarised by exhibitor John Haynes of FRC International: “We’ve had hundreds of people on our stand from 30 different countries, so we’ll definitely be back next year.”
Seawork Innovations Showcase
The range of companies involved in the industry was reflected by the 30 entries in the Seawork 2012 Innovations Showcase. Winners were announced at the Innovation Awards Dinner on Tuesday 22 May with the prestigious Spirit of Innovation Trophy being presented by the Rt Hon Caroline Dinenage MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head for the hand-held laser technology Odeo Flare from Index Marine.
Steve Groves, a director of Odeo Flare Ltd said: "We knew we had a strong, innovative product with the laser Odeo Flare, but to win was a fantastic recognition of the uniqueness of our product and a wonderful accolade from the industry".
Mr Kommer Damen, Chairman of Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group, was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award at the Seawork Innovation Awards Dinner in recognition of his initiatives which, since 1969, have transformed a company of six employees into a global concern with more than 6,000 employees in 35 countries. His son, Arnout Damen, accepted the award on his behalf.
Images for this article - click to enlarge
Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright © Mercator Media 2013. This does not exclude the owner's assertion of copyright over the material.
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