Last year saw one of the world’s few floating trade shows, and France's first: Navexpo International, with media partner Mer et Marine. Preparations are in full swing for the second edition, to take place from 10 to 12 May 2017 at the port of Lorient.
The first Navexpo International last spring served to test the waters. In all, a hundred companies were involved, including exhibitors from Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the USA. Together they represented a broad spectrum of maritime activities, from shipbuilding and repair to port and offshore equipment and maritime support services.
Interactive business meetings on floating dockside exhibits
The ‘boats afloat’ concept offers participants precious exposure while giving visitors an opportunity to inspect docked vessels and equipment showcased by exhibitors on the Lorient La Base quays. Visitors to the 2016 show were also encouraged to arrange business meetings and make the most of exchanges with decision-makers and sales personnel representing outfitters, port authorities, administrations, associations, local authorities and manufacturers.
Overall, the test-run proved a success, and considerable interest was shown by targeted attendees, which included shipyards, naval architecture bureaux, engineering firms, chandlers, engine manufacturers, port and offshore equipment specialists, diving and underwater suppliers, financial institutions, insurance companies, maritime experts, research and training institutions, and maritime service operators. Several dozen companies have already confirmed their participation at this year's event.
More boats afloat
For 2017, the organisers aim to make the show more international by inviting exhibitors and visitors from around the world. They hope to achieve a more international flavour and to see more exhibitors in the ‘boats afloat’ section. Early indications are promising. “Given that the première proved such an innovative, quality event, many shipyards and outfitters are keen to exhibit at Navexpo 2017. Participation in the ‘boats afloat’ section offers a marketing and PR opportunity as it allows exhibitors to present their know-how and services. Navexpo will also organise sea trials and demonstrations of boats and equipment in the harbour, in the Lorient roads or in the open sea,” said Gildas Bernard, Navexpo coordinator.
Spotlight on maritime safety and security
Another innovation at Navexpo 2017 will be a display area focusing on maritime safety and security. This will complement the areas dedicated to port and harbour services (pilot, tug, mooring and berthing services; port management, decontamination); fisheries and aquaculture (coastal and deep-sea fishing, fish and shellfish farming); maritime, underwater and waterway engineering; port and offshore installations (oil & gas, marine renewable energy); hydrographic and scientific work, and passenger and cargo services.
Partnerships with IHEDN and CEA Tech
Navexpo has established two new partnerships. The first is with IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Études de la Défense Nationale, the French Institute of Advanced Defence Studies), including experts from its Strategic Maritime Issues department, will hold a conference focusing on maritime security and the threat of terrorism. The second partnership is with CEA Tech, the research arm of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission. The CEA Tech showroom will present a wide range of demonstrators for the shipbuilding and maritime industries. CEA Tech experts will also hold a conference on technological innovations, including various energy mixes (hydrogen, batteries, solar) for shipboard applications.
Translated and adapted by Allison Wright and Steve Dyson