Face to face with the future

Per Martin Tanggaard, the Director of Nor-Shipping, says there’s still no substitute for doing business the ‘old fashioned way’, even when you’re embracing the future.

“The shipping industry is being redefined by digitalization,” Tanggaard opines from his office in a rather icy Lillestrøm, Norway. “Connected, smarter ships and businesses are utilizing data in ways that are only restricted by our imaginations, while the way we communicate, consume information and go about our day to day duties has been transformed. Not over the past decade, but over the past few years.”

Leaning forward, Tanggaard, who has been with Nor-Shipping since 2015, assuming the Director role last year, taps the table to stress a point. “But,” he says, pausing to engage deliberate eye contact, “there’s still no better way to connect than this. This – here and now, face-to-face. You meet someone and it takes your relationship and understanding of each other to another level.”

And, looking into his eyes, it’s hard to disagree.

A world of opportunity

Over the past 54 years Nor-Shipping has established itself as the place where maritime meets.
Spanning a 21,000m2 exhibition space in Lillestrøm, and a host of event venues in nearby Oslo, the event week attracts close to 1,000 exhibiting companies and around 35,000 visiting delegates, from 75 different nations, every two years. For 2019 it has repositioned to help its traditional maritime audience take advantage of the growing opportunities within the fast-growing ocean industries, emerging as ‘your arena for ocean solutions’.

The potential this will open up for, for both exhibitors and visitors, is, Tanggaard stresses, immense.

Enabling new business

He explains: “Economic value creation from ocean activities will have doubled by 2030, according to OECD. This gives maritime a unique opening to position itself for growth, utilizing established expertise, infrastructure and assets to prosper within the ocean space.

“So at Nor-Shipping you’ll meet traditional maritime players and key decision makers, but you’ll also meet new people, partners and ideas that can help build your business as they build theirs – for example in the tech sector, renewable energy, finance, food production and innovation. In that way we can help our customers develop sustainable commercial and environmental activity into the future.

“We see Nor-Shipping as more than just an exhibition, but as a collaborative platform to assist our industry in consolidating a sustainable and profitable leading position within the ocean space. We’ll do all we can to assist them and support that development.”

Creating contacts

Taking place from 04 – 07 June Nor-Shipping offers six themed halls (including the new Blue Economy hall – dedicated to utilising ocean resources in a responsible, sustainable and profitable manner), a world leading conference, an array of speaker events and interactive debates covering hot topics and emerging business opportunities, and a unique programme of social events centred around the ‘Festival Street’ hub in city centre Oslo.

“There’s nowhere else where you can connect with industry decision makers of this level, all gathered in one place, all eager to network, collaborate and plot a course for future success,” Tanggaard says. “The exhibition and knowledge sharing events are one thing, but the importance of meeting within a social context can’t be overstated either. For example, at the DNV GL BBQ at Høvik we’ll have around 2,500 of the most important decision makers in our business standing shoulder to shoulder. The chance to connect, converse and build relationships, at that level, is something special.

“Put it this way,” he says with a grin, “you can’t do that over Skype.”

The talent of tomorrow

And it’s not just today’s industry leaders gathering in the (hopefully) sunny Norwegian capital this summer, but also tomorrow’s.

Nor-Shipping has, along with a reputation for showcasing the very latest innovations, a position as a champion of young talent, with its Young@Nor-Shipping programme and Young Entrepreneur Award amongst other established initiatives. Now, Tanggaard notes, there’s more to come:

“We conduct extensive feedback after each Nor-Shipping and a takeaway from 2017 was the industry’s desire to connect with young talent, promoting opportunities and raising the profile of maritime as an attractive sector for personal development, competence building and successful careers.

“We’re responding to that with the launch of the Ocean Solutions Festival, which will take place in downtown Oslo and showcase new ideas, innovation and career opportunities, and, as previously mentioned, the Blue Economy hall – an aspirational and inspirational environment. Furthermore we’ve entered a partnership agreement with SeaFocus to hold the Finals of its established Intelligence Hunt initiative in Nor-Shipping’s exhibition Hall B. This initiative, which sees international students presenting new solutions to business challenges, will be an important networking opportunity and showcasing platform for both students and industry players alike. It’ll be the place to meet tomorrow’s decision makers today.”

People power

Bringing our conversation to a conclusion, Nor-Shipping’s head describes ‘your arena for ocean solutions’ as “not just a location for networking, doing deals and raising profile, but also a place to gather the industry, showcase talent and technology, and plan for a sustainable, successful ocean business future.”

And the key to that, he smiles, engaging eye contact for one last time, is people.

“We can’t build competence, relationships, innovations, profit and sustainability in isolation,” Tanggaard stresses. “We have to work together to fully realize this industry’s potential. And the best way to do that isn’t via the internet; it’s with a handshake, a smile and the chance to fully understand one another’s capabilities. In 2019 the place to do that is Nor-Shipping.”

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