APM: Maritime Industry Slowly Recovering
The biennial Asia Pacific Maritime (APM), one of Asia’s largest and leading maritime shows, concluded with a forward-looking outlook.
Three days of bustling business activity on the exhibition floor, including signed deals, announcement of new offices and facilities in Singapore, and the launch of new technology and products among 1,518 participating companies from 60 countries, point towards a slowly recovering maritime industry.
APM 2014, which took place from 19 to 21 March 2014, received a total of 14,239 visitors from 64 countries, an 11 per cent growth from its last edition in 2012.
Beyond the buzz on the exhibition floor, APM delegates also heard first-hand insights on key growth areas in the Asia-Pacific region, Asia’s impact on container shipping and dry bulk demand, as well as viable solutions to improve efficiency, cut cost and make a green impact in the face of tightening environmental and energy policies imposed on the maritime industry.
Global filtration company, Griffin Group International Pte Ltd, inked exclusive distributorships with three marine companies from Maldives, Malaysia and South Korea at APM. Ms Mei Reading, Global Marketing Director, Griffin Group International Pte Ltd, said: “It is our third time participating at APM, and the visible growth of exhibitors and visitors at each edition has translated to a very busy show for us each time. An international show like APM provides an excellent platform for us to meet new customers and to maintain a strong relationship with our existing network of distributors.”
The prominent geographical location of Singapore as the region’s shipping capital, where APM was held, also gave participating companies the platform to announce their expansion plans. Alewijnse Marine Rotterdam B.V., a Dutch based company providing electrical services for the electrical marine market, signed an official contract at APM for the establishment of their Singapore and Malaysia offices.
Mr Ben J. Bonte, Director of Alewijnse Marine Rotterdam B.V., said: “We decided to participate in this year’s APM as an exhibitor after visiting past editions, as we have seen its ability to draw the international maritime and offshore community together. Since the set up of our two new entities in Singapore and Malaysia this month, the APM expo was an ideal platform to solidify our presence after a year of marketing in both countries. Having ended up with two new awarded projects, our decision to participate as an exhibitor at APM was definitely worth the investment.”
Asia’s leading maritime satellite service provider, SpeedCast, also announced the opening of its new facility in Singapore at APM. The new facility includes warehousing, staging and testing capabilities, as well as a significant increase in personnel in Singapore. This latest addition marks SpeedCast’s expansion in the region to better service offshore customers in Singapore.
Ms Michelle Lim, Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions said: “This has been the biggest APM to date in all aspects. We have received very positive feedback from the floor, including strong re-bookings for the next edition of the show by exhibitors. These positive indicators mirror the industry’s careful but optimistic outlook.”
Strong call to adopt green innovation complemented by showcase of green solutions on exhibition floor
An indisputable relationship between going green and future cost-savings is drawn from the series of high-powered conferences held at APM, themed ‘Repositioning for Growth in the Asia Pacific Region’.
“Eco-shipping can obtain Return On Investment (ROI) for ship owners,” said Mr Peter Sand, BIMCO Chief Shipping Analyst. “Bunker costs have turned the cost picture upside down as oil prices continue to increase year-on-year, comparing a Medium Range tanker of similar characteristics operating in 2004 and 2014. In 2004, the total bunker cost is US$33.6m, and in 2014, the cost has hiked to US$111.6m. Together with tighter sulphur restrictions on global basis in the near future, the situation calls for the shipping industry to embrace technology to attain economics and eco-nomics concurrently.”
Mr Egil Rensvik, Science and Technology Counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Singapore & Innovation Norway – South and Southeast Asia, also said that there is a large potential for energy reduction on board vessels. Over the last 10 years, Norway shipping companies have good experience in the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for ferries and ROPAX vessels in Northern Europe. As an example of new technology moving forward, some shipping lines for coastal trade are exploring the expansion of the battery- driven ferry concept, which helps save 15 per cent of the energy.
One of the newest green solutions launched at APM is the BASSnet(TM) Fleet Management Systems by BASS, the leading provider of fleet management software. The new software will enable ship operators to build an integrated solution for ship owners to better manage their fleet in compliance with environmental and energy policies, and meet the maritime industry’s aim of reducing a vessel’s negative impact on the environment.
Mr Per Steinar Upsaker, CEO of BASS, said: “You need to be able to monitor the situation before you can make any changes to make it better. The new Environmental Management module helps shipping companies, ship operators and ship personnel to calculate the amount of pollution created compared with the cargo carried and the distance sailed. This helps to manage and reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gases and other emissions.”
At the inaugural Ballast Water Technology Asia Conference held alongside APM 2014, Mr Praveen Kumar Mishra, Senior Principal Surveyor and Vice President Certification, Indian Register of Shipping (IR Class), estimated that so far, no more than five per cent of vessels have been fitted with Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS).
The Port Based Mobile Ballast Water Treatment Facility, or ‘BWTBoat’, developed by IR Class, could be a viable solution to the challenges stemming from the impending ratification of the Ballast Water Convention, introduced by the International Maritime Organisation.
It provides a flexible facility that ships can use to receive treated water or discharge ballast water for a service fee. The approach can be implemented in regional and coastal trading zones all over the world, wherever small and medium-sized vessels serve only regional ports, saving time and money for the industry, as well as the environment.
“There is no doubt that the maritime industry is still facing challenges such as the mismatch in figures between capacity growth and cargo demand. However, I believe that the maritime industry will be in a better shape at the next edition of APM in 2016,” said Mr Mahesh Sivaswamy, Chairman & CEO of Transworld Group Singapore.
The 14th edition of APM will make its return in two years’ time, from 16 to 18 March 2016.
APM, March 28, 2014