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Europort 2023 to leave lasting impression of maritime and offshore industries in transition

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ROTTERDAM : As the curtains fall on Europort 2023, memories linger of an event that saw stakeholders from across the maritime world connect on the key themes of energy transition and digitalisation, as well as the human capital and finance needed to support them.

Europort has drawn to a close after four busy days of conferences, networking, and awards ceremonies that also saw a series of new and innovative products introduced to the maritime and offshore markets. This year, 24,470 visitors and 1,051 exhibitors from 107 countries converged on Rotterdam, Europe’s maritime capital, for the 41st edition of Europort.

Proceedings got under way on Tuesday, 7 November with a provocative Opening Summit exploring artificial intelligence in the maritime industry. With the audience surprised to learn that the opening keynote speech and visual presentation had been crafted entirely by AI, the session set the tone for a week in which technology was a prominent theme.

On day two, 8 November, Anglo Belgian Corporation (ABC) unveiled its innovative Evolve 6EL23 engine – a multi-fuel, six-cylinder engine that “embraces the future of engine technology” to help ABC customers tackle their energy-transition challenges.

In another energy transition-related product launch on the following day, SRC Group showcased its ‘Methanol Superstorage’ solution that overcomes the storage issues typically associated with the use of methanol as a marine fuel.

“At Europort 2023, we officially launched Methanol Superstorage, a ground-breaking solution to support the adoption and deployment of methanol as a marine fuel,” commented Hannes Lilp, CEO, SRC Group. “This aligned perfectly with Europort’s key theme of energy transition, and we were delighted with the level of interest from visitors throughout the week.”

Europort’s coverage of sustainable shipping was a recurring topic among attendees, with Marcel Wandel, Aftermarkets Sales Manager, Global Customer Support, Kongsberg Maritime – which won the SMART4SEA Europort Autonomous Shipping Award on 9 November – commenting: “Our strapline of ‘Protecting People and Planet’ is well represented at Europort given the event’s emphasis on sustainability. Europort is also the most important event for the Benelux market and, in line with our role of developing technological solutions in maritime, has been very good for us so far.”

Guido Garufi, Business Development Manager Benelux, RINA, said: “With our focus on sustainability – not only for the ship but for the entire infrastructure in maritime – Europort connects us with all kinds of partners given the presence of ship owners, yards, and technology companies. The Netherlands is also key for us as a link between the Baltic Sea countries, the northern Mediterranean, and Türkiye.”

Another aspect of Europort 2023 that received praise from attendees was its international reach. Helen Stephen, Director, Society of Maritime Industries (SMI), commented: “Europort is a key event for SMI as a showcase for UK marine-engineering capabilities to an international audience. With its special significance to the UK supply chain, the Dutch market is also important for our association and member companies.”

Mehtap Karahallı Özdemir, Secretary General, GİSBİR – the Turkish Shipbuilders’ Association – discussed the close links between the Turkish and Dutch maritime clusters, describing Europort as an “excellent platform” for bringing diverse stakeholders together. “The size of our participation is growing each time, and this year, more than 40 Turkish companies are exhibiting at the show,” she added. “Europort is not just an exhibition but a connection point for all those involved in the sector, and we have been delighted to participate in the wider programme for the week.”

The international make-up of Europort’s exhibitor list provided fertile ground for collaboration and innovation. On 9 November, Dutch company Damen Green Solutions and Swedish-headquartered Bawat Water Technologies signed a formal agreement to solidify their joint venture, ‘Bawat Damen’, in the development and sales of cutting-edge mobile ballast water treatment systems.

On 10 November, the successful 41st edition of Europort came to a close following events including the Connecting next-gen professionals to maritime finance debate, the human capital-themed CAREER4SEA Europort Awards, and the Fisheries Innovation Network (FIN) first-anniversary session. The FIN event, which saw a visit from Piet Adema, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality, explored the sustainable practices and new technologies shaping the future of fishing.

Organisers at Europort will soon turn their attention to Europort 2025, which takes place from 2 to 5 November at Rotterdam Ahoy.

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