Just over 100 exhibitors had set out their stall in one of the halls at RAI Amsterdam when the doors opened on the first METSTRADE s how in 1988. In contrast, last year’s event covered eleven halls of the RAI, with 1,471 exhibiting companies welcoming a record total of 23,702 visits. As there is very limited space available for METSTRADE 2017, the growth seen over the decades is set to continue at the 30th edition this November.
“While these statistics make for impressive reading, they do not tell the whole story behind the success of METSTRADE,” said RAI Amsterdam’s Maritime METSTRADE Manager Irene Dros. “The event may be the biggest of its kind and the amount of business conducted is unprecedented for the marine industry. But it is the atmosphere that many people remember most as professionals gather to share information and attend all kinds of functions. There were over 12,400 companies (circa 11,000 represented by visitors and over 1,400 exhibitors) from more than 110 nationalities present at METSTRADE 2016 and we’re determined to ensure that this years’ event is a celebration of our shared passion for both the maritime sector and the planet on which it depends.”
In addition to retaining loyalty from visitors and exhibitors, METSTRADE is seen as the launch pad of choice for product innovations. In 1991, it introduced the DAME Design Award, which has since become the world’s most prestigious prize for marine product design and innovation, attracting a high level of entries every year. Many exhibitors use METSTRADE as the place to unveil their latest developments and the METSTRADE Innovation LAB is a central hub for all innovation at the show, with a rolling program of seminars, workshops, debates and presentations.
As it enters its fourth decade, the METSTRADE show will continue to set the pace when it comes to thinking ahead.
“Over recent years we have expanded our focus on the new production technologies and processes, which contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable industry and world,” said Dros. “This will only get bigger as sustainability and innovation go hand in hand. We expect revolutionary developments in areas such as 3D printing, new propulsion methods, such as hybrid & electronic developments and the use of natural energy sources to transcend branch level. At this year’s anniversary edition, we are launching the EnnovationLab close to the InnovationLab. This new feature will take industry showcases and high-tech product developments in the field of new (electric and hybrid) propulsion methods to the next level.”
Partners in know-how
As a trade-only marine event, the METSTRADE Show is placed to host leisure marine conferences and other events that share this forward-thinking approach. Recent examples include the HISWA Symposium on Yacht Design and Construction, The (Global) SuperYacht Forum, the Material Xperience Showcase, the Boat Builder Awards for outstanding business achievement, the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference and the Leisure Marine Sustainability Conference.
“These types of events further facilitate the sense of purpose at the METSTRADE Show itself,” said Dros. “This is supported by strong and global partnerships with research centres, universities and other players who enable us to stay up to speed with the latest knowledge. Leveraging on the 30 years of experience and know-how built up by all involved with METSTRADE – exhibitors and visitors alike – I believe we can truly make a difference together.”
Dros is also keen on stressing that METSTRADE has become much more than just an annual gathering in Amsterdam, however much impact it might have.
“METSTRADE has evolved into a global online community that meets the marine industry’s needs and desire for knowledge, matchmaking, networking and sharing, throughout the year,” she said. “As show organizers, we are doing everything possible to facilitate this community via the online platform on METSTRADE.com. In doing so, we support the requirements of the key decision makers of today and tomorrow, sharing information with those for whom this mode of communication is the norm.”
Returning to the main event in November, METSTRADE 2017 is once again expecting to welcome high-quality visitors from all over the world. At 64 percent in 2016, the percentage of visitors from outside the Netherlands is growing as fast as the brand’s international profile. This was highlighted in 2016 when METSTRADE organizer RAI Amsterdam acquired a 50 percent share of the IBEX International Boat Builders Exhibition & Conference (the American equivalent of METSTRADE) to further enhance its global reach.
Exhibitor numbers also continue to rise every year. To ensure that expansion does not mean dilution of the unique B2B ambience that has served METSTRADE so well, only exhibitors that fit the concept are accepted by the dedicated entrance committee. This also applies to the “shows within a show,” starting in 2005 with the SuperYacht Pavilion and joined by the Marina & Yard Pavilion and Construction & Material Pavilion in 2012. The SYP is already sold out for the 2017 event with a waiting list for those who would still like to attend. The MYP and CMP are also close to being fully booked and, overall, 95 percent of the METSTRADE Show floor has already been filled.
These figures illustrate how all parties involved remain pleased with the way the organizers have steered METSTRADE over the past three decades.
“When METSTRADE started in 1988 we immediately saw the possibilities it would create to bring the equipment and materials side of the industry into direct contact with OEMs as well as the importers, distributors and dealers serving the aftermarket,” said Nick Hopkinson, publishing director of UK-based International Boat Industry magazine. “From small beginnings, the show has developed into an extraordinary international market place for the leisure marine industry, fulfilling its original goals and regularly adding beneficial features.”
“We have been exhibiting at METSTRADE for years, starting in the Dutch pavilion and more recently moving to the SuperYacht Pavilion,” said Edwin Mai, service manager at Cramm Yachting Systems in the Netherlands. “Cramm is a leading supplier of advanced technology, cranes and boarding equipment to the superyacht industry and METSTRADE will continue to be an important way for us to meet many new and existing clients.”
“Our partnership with METSTRADE has helped keep us at the forefront of the marine industry, showcasing new innovative products year on year,” says Hendrik van der Linden, world custom sales director at Lewmar. “The event has and always will be our most important trade show in the calendar, a unique and vital meeting point for the marine industry to build and develop existing contacts as well as source new business leads.”
“When advising members on export we always recommend METSTRADE as the international show they consider first,” said Julie Balzano, export director at the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “METSTRADE is a consistent and effective B2B event which continues to produce the results exhibitors are seeking. We consider the show an integral component of our export development efforts and the NMMA is honored to have been a part of METSTRADE since its inception.”