The 30th annual METS continues on a roll, with record numbers of exhibitors, strong attendance through the first two days, and plenty of deals being made throughout the sprawling Amsterdam RAI exhibition complex.
Opening day attendance was announced at 8,503 visitors recorded by 5 p.m., representing a 4.5 percent increase over the 8,133 people who visited METS on opening day last year and marking the fifth consecutive record for opening day attendance.
Wednesday – typically the busiest show day during METS – was also very busy, with visitors waiting to collect their entry badges once again facing long lines that persisted well into the day.
Heavy crowds throughout the RAI exhibition center have organizers cautiously optimistic that the day’s attendance could top the 10,000 mark.
Denis Laesker, an international sales representative with Clearwater, Fla.-based New Nautical Coatings Inc., described this year’s METS as the best yet.
“We’ve been coming here for eight years, and by far this year has been the best, just awesome,” Laesker said. “The attendance has been very good and we’re talking to quality customers and prospects. We’re gaining more brand recognition in Europe, which makes the brand more interesting to customers and new distributors. It’s not just Europe, the main benefit to this show is its international composition. I’ve talked to people today from the Middle East, Scandinavia, all over Europe and North America. Our company was founded in America so we have a lot of history and customer base there. But our international sales now represent 35 to 40 percent of our sales. METS is the place to see those customers and nurture that business.”
The USA Pavilion in Hall 12 has been particularly busy as strengthening economies in Europe have begun to reduce the sting of the strong U.S.dollar.
“We’re seeing the customer base is very optimistic coming into 2018,” said Turning Point Propellers President Ron Bailey. “What drives our business is new product, and new initiatives to break into parts of the market we haven’t been in before. We’ve talked to a number of new customers here who have been considering us for years, and now they’re coming in for the next program year. We’ve all had our challenges with currency exchange rates and issues with Brexit going on, but the buyers seem very confident this year.”
Wednesday also saw the return of the highly successful Pitch The Press event, held on the Theatre For Innovation Pitches Stage just beyond the USA and Canada Pavilions in Hall 12.
A total of nine companies presented their new product to a panel of about 30 international marine journalists.
“This is a great platform to share information on our new launches, and in front of a large trade audience,” said Seakeeper Chief Operating Officer Andrew Semprevivo, who presented the company’s new Seakeeper 6 stabilizer system. “It’s how the industry pushes forward and grows.”
The 30th METS runs through Thursday at the Amsterdam RAI.