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Your weekly briefing

10 September 2108


SMM special

The stands at SMM are long and truly dismantled and the 14 exhibition halls of the Hamburg Messe are back to being empty. SMM is the biggest maritime technology show in the world and with so many stands, products, content and messages from the show, we asked Richard Clayton, Chief Correspondent, Lloyd's List what was his four take-away points from SMM this year.

1. SMM: "partnership"

One word jumped out at me from all the interview notes I took at SMM: “partnership”. It’s a clue that businesses in the maritime space know they don’t have all the answers. Instead they seek out other companies, entrepreneurs, and innovators who might add their expertise to form a more robust proposition. DNV GL has set up an open digital platform called Veracity and is testing the platform with partners NYK, Wilh Wilhelmsen, Teekey and others. ExxonMobil is advising clients to plan and prepare for IMO 2020, and wants to be seen as a trusted partner/partner. Columbia Ship Management describes partnership with its clients as “sharing the pain” of a decade of austerity. Wärtsilä has created a smart technology centre in the Finnish city of Vaasa in partnership with the city, port, and customers. As a business in the insight and intelligence space, Informa/Lloyd’s List can be considered a partner with industry players: we are not outside the maritime community looking in, we are inside and with a role to play.

Read more about SMM on Lloyd's List 
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2. SMM: Pistons rings and cocktails

There are two kinds of companies that exhibit at SMM. The first has a limited range of products on a shelf – piston rings, tins of paint, etc – and a bored sales person sitting at a desk in the back staring into his/her mobile phone. The second is a massive stand with movie walls blaring out, hundreds of stand execs and visitors, a bar with six waitresses all mixing cocktails. The first must have cost a few hundred dollars, the second a few hundred thousand dollars. It’s like being a kid at their first circus. Remember this: the first is selling a product; the second is selling a dream. What we all need is a solution to our current, or anticipated, problem. So you must make the best use of your time by identifying the problem you need to solve, then tracking down the likely solutions providers.

Read more on SMM on Lloyd's List
Inmarsat and Danelec launch cloud-based data platform

3. SMM: Honestly speaking

I was asked to make an honest assessment of Wartsila’s Oceanic Awakening launch: I didn’t used the word ‘waffle’ but that’s what it was. It’s like Project Fear for Spaceship Earth. In essence, the world needs to reconnect with the sea. We should rethink the role of cities, we should embrace digitalisation, we should pass legislation to encourage smart policies. Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Helsinki have all signed up to the SEA 20 initiative, with New York and Singapore soon to do so. While I have some sympathy with the need to reconnect with the sea, I don’t think it’s Wartsila’s place to tell us to rethink cities. The most interesting point for me was that in the 18th century the port was the focus on international trade and travel; in the 19th century it was the railway terminus; in the 20th century it was the airport; perhaps in the 21st century it will be the turn of the railways again. Wartsila is looking to partner with Lloyd’s List, among many companies in a huge campaign to raise the profile of the business as a pioneer and thought leader. This is not a good start.

Read more on SMM on Lloyd's List
Shipping industry 'lacks vision,' SMM told

4. SMM: More questions, few answers...

One of the impressions I got from SMM was that there are many questions and few answers. I sat at dinner with Andreas Bodmann, who heads DNV GL’s marketing and communications teams. He’s keen to work with us, having missed out this year because they were pipped at the post by LR. There is an urgency to work with us now but I get the impression they don’t know what on. Like Wartsila, like ExxonMobil, DNV GL doesn’t have a carefully worked out campaign. I fear we might have to create one for them – and then we’ll become part of their ‘shadow’ team. This tells me the words “digitalisation”, “decarbonisation”, “Internet of Things” are not campaigns in themselves. They are words or phrases that are pretty hollow. The shipping industry needs solutions to today’s problems; they don’t want solutions looking for problems. My own CEO Round table at SMM was one of the most enjoyable events I’ve done since I joined Lloyd’s List because I targeted our thoughts on sustainability. We concluded that until we can all agree on what sustainability actually is, we won’t be able to work together to achieve it. So the speakers were keen to carry on the conversation after the Round table. That’s the sort of event I like – one that has the potential to build for the future.

Read more on SMM on Lloyd's List 
Is maritime regulation stuck in the past?


Listen to the Lloyd's List Podcast SMM 2018 
Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade talks technology ambitions and reality with Anastassios Adamopoulos who joins the podcast live from the SMM 2018 event in Hamburg this week.


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