METS 2016 opens to crowded halls

The 29th annual Marine Equipment Trade Show opened Tuesday at the Amsterdam RAI to crowded halls and a record number of exhibitors. Show visitors were still pouring through the entry doors long after the doors opened to kick off the 29th edition of the world’s largest marine trade show.

The USA Pavilion at this year’s METS is the largest ever, with a total of 90 companies exhibiting. US Consul General to Amsterdam, David McCawley, was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon early Tuesday morning to officially open the USA Pavilion, and speak with exhibiting NMMA members about their product lines and their export experiences.

“We’re honored that Consul General McCawley recognizes the importance of our industry and has taken time out of his busy schedule to meet with our exhibitors and acknowledge their importance as U.S. manufacturers in the global marine industry,” said Julie Balzano, Export Development Director for NMMA.

The growth of the American presence at METS is no surprise to NMMA president Thom Dammrich.

“In our 28 years at METS this is our largest Pavilion yet,” he said. “Business at home is good, so companies have the money to invest in developing their overseas markets and the first step in that process is coming to METS. Right now we have a strong dollar and that does make it a bit harder in some overseas markets, but currency exchange rates fluctuate and you have to be in the market for the long haul. Economic conditions in Europe are improving now, and even some of the hardest hit markets, like Spain and Italy, are doing better than they were. So in spite of the strength of the US dollar, there are still significant opportunities to grow business through export.”

With the addition of a new exhibit hall this year and several changes to the floor plan, show visitors spent some time this morning orienting themselves. Among the most significant changes to the 2016 METS are the SuperYacht Pavilion now occupying the entire span of Halls 10 and 11, while the Marina and Yard Pavilion has moved to Hall 5 to be next to the conference location in the RAI’s new Amtrium building. The Construction Material Pavilion remains in its existing location inside the Elicium building, allowing it to be closely connected to the Material Experience, but its expanded presence has resulted in the Innovation LAB and stage moving to Hall 6, where it will form a central innovation hub together with dedicated presentations of the winning and nominated products for the prestigious DAME design award.

The 29th METS runs through November 17 at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, the Netherlands.

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