METSTRADE 2019 has once again raised the bar for what can be achieved at such an industry-leading B2B event. Running from 19th to 21st November, the show illustrated its renowned ability to catch the zeitgeist by zooming in on the latest issues affecting the leisure marine sector, from sustainability, cybersecurity and digitalisation to open workforces and international trade. It also attracted a record number of exhibitors who welcomed the largest ever number of visitors to a bustling RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.
With 26,984 visits registered by 17.792 unique visitors represented by 115 nationalities, 1.670 exhibitors from 53 countries represented by 7.297 stand personal, and no less than 228 members of the press, the stats make very good reading for the METSTRADE Show as the 32nd edition continued its relentless year-on-year rise in popularity.
The organisers were especially pleased at being able to welcome no less than 271 new exhibitors, the surest sign that ever-more marine professionals are recognising this annual platform in Amsterdam as a must-attend moment. And the fact that these new companies came from 36 countries added to the event’s unrivalled international character.
“METSTRADE is the first trade show we have participated in and we are very satisfied with the results,” comments Steyn van Driessel, sales marketing executive at We Ship Yachts, one of the 30 new Dutch companies on the exhibition floor. “We have met many high-quality visitors and generated a great deal of publicity, which were exactly the reasons why we decided to exhibit here.”
Covering an inspiring 28,915 square metres of exhibitor space, including the ever-expanding pavilions for the superyacht, marina and construction sectors, the METSTRADE Show saw good business being conducted across the board with a range of impressive projects. The large number of social and networking events added to the vibrant atmosphere, reinforcing the sense that the leisure marine industry is very much a people’s business.
While keen to confirm this impression, Irene Dros, maritime director of the METSTRADE Show, says there will be no resting on laurels for her and the team she leads. “There’s always room for improvement which makes the show so rewarding to organise each year. At this year’s show we delivered on our operational excellence pledge in a number of ways, including marking the fifth anniversary of the Boat Builder Awards with an awesome evening at Amsterdam’s iconic maritime museum. And throughout the week, it has been an honour to see people working with so much passion and dedication, committed to their innovative products and services.”
Sustainability was a key element at METSTRADE 2019 and Dros emphasises the strong sense she felt of everyone in the industry pulling together on this issue. “At all levels of the leisure marine sector people are clearly taking ownership of the need to make things better with respect to the environment. They are tackling the issue from the heart as well as financially, embracing transformation in our industry not just in theory but very much in practice. There is a continuous conversation between all stakeholders that is already leading to revolutionary developments.”
Many of these developments were featured at the METSTRADE Show as an enormous amount of information and learning was exchanged across multiple platforms by a record number of speakers. Highlights included the E-nnovation Stage (with dedicated electric and hybrid information sessions), the Construction in Process Stage, the I-nnovation Stage and the Young Professionals Club Lounge, with lots of fascinating dialogue after each session at the new Speakers Corner.
Three expert panel discussions on the disposal and recycling of boats, life cycle assessment and ocean conservation were well-attended. The show’s partnership with the Water Revolution Foundation was flagged up in various ways while the Material District presentation was dedicated to biobased and recycled raw materials. Last but by no means least, the METSTRADE organisers published their very own Sustainability Guide during the show, sharing all the activities that are being carried out on an event and venue level in this respect.
Kick off in style
As is traditional, the METSTRADE Show was officially opened bright and early on the Tuesday morning, with a keynote Breakfast Briefing. This was given by Henk de Vries, Feadship Director and Chairman of the Water Revolution Foundation: his speech examining ways of taking an eco-conscious approach to business and the importance of finding and retaining the right personnel set the tone for the days ahead.
Birgit Schnaase, Chair of the Jury for the DAME Design Award, presented the prestigious trophy to the U SAFE lifebuoy, a reinvention of the traditional life-saving ring that is auto-propelled and remote controlled. The registration fees for the DAME were donated by the RAI to two charities, with Sailing4handicaps and The Little Optimist Trust, both receiving €8,850.
Under the stars
In addition to the hugely productive exhibition days, the evenings were also lively during METSTRADE. A superb example was the Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement, which welcomed some 350 guests to the amphitheatre of the National Maritime Museum. Held in association with headline sponsor Raymarine, the glittering ceremony praised 36 shortlisted companies and eight eventual winners: Riva, Galeon, Marquis Yachts/Toyota, Grand Banks, Rondal/Royal Huisman/Comm&Sens/Gurit, Benetti, Spirit Yachts and Princess Yachts. Viking Yachts’ Bill and Bob Healey were given a Lifetime Achievement award while Angela Pernsteiner from Dominator Yachts and Riviera Australia’s Kyle Davison were named as this year’s Rising Star talents.
The congress and content programmes were also bigger and better than ever at METSTRADE 2019. They included the education seminars by the National Marine Electronics Association, the Superyacht Forum, a two-day Marina Design Training Programme by PIANC RecCom, and a series of sessions and showcases by the Global Marina Institute.
The final word
The success of METSTRADE 2019 follows hard on the heels of an excellent edition of its partner event in Tampa in early October, the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX). It is appropriate perhaps then to leave the final word to an exhibitor at both events, Mercury Marine: “In the whole boat show calendar for our sector, METSTRADE and IBEX are the two shows that we cannot afford to miss.”
By: Naomi Chadderton