SMM 2018 is calling shipping experts under its sails, as the leading international maritime trade fair returns to showcase the crème de la crème of industry innovations

Held as a bi-annual event, SMM is widely treated as the world’s most important trade fair for the maritime industry. Two years have quickly elapsed since the previous edition of the fair and it is almost time for Hamburg to welcome the leading names in shipping again, from September 4th to September 7th. Germany’s second largest city maintains a strong maritime tradition as a busy hub of trade, ship financing and industry, making it the perfect host for the display of the latest innovations across the maritime industry.

This year’s event comes on the back of the highly successful 2016 edition of SMM, which gathered more than 2200 exhibitors and roughly 50,000 visitors throughout its four days. Surveyed after the exhibition, 93 per cent of all exhibitors reported that they have considered SMM 2016 as commercial success for their company, while 97 per cent of all visitors expressed that they were either considering or were certain to attend the fair in 2018. Marking a rare occasion when all the maritime industry leaders can congregate in one place, it is no wonder that SMM is viewed as the ideal place to gather insights, engage in networking, cement business deals, and contribute to debates with the thought leaders in the sector.

Even though this year’s fair will officially open on September 4th, the second Maritime Future Summit will be held as a prelude to the exhibition on the day before. The conference will centre on the latest trends and developments in automation, digitalisation, and data management, with major players and decision-makers discussing the latest themes and visions in shipping and shipbuilding. The opening of the summit will take place at 11:00 with the introduction of the discussion’s moderator, Prof Dr Volker Bertram from the World Maritime University, and a keynote speech from Hubert Hoffman, CIO & CDO of MSC Germany. Two discussion panels will then follow, featuring speakers from a number of research institutes and successful companies, who will discuss topics covering the ever-deeper involvement of digital technology in shipping.

The first day of SMM 2018 will be highlighted by the TradeWinds Shipowners Forum that will gather innovative players from Germany and overseas who will exchange ideas of how to manage and succeed. The delegates will also hear the outlook on markets and the global economy from influential speakers. During the forum’s first session, key figures from the new generation of Germany’s shipping leaders will share their experience of how they are shaping their companies to be globally competitive, while the second session will see global pacesetters discuss how they are turning to their advantage the major challenges of erratic trade growth, digitalisation, and increasing investor and public scrutiny, among other issues.

The Global Maritime Environmental Congress (gmec) will be the major conference of the second day of the exhibition. With alternative energy sources and green technologies being identified as a significant part of maritime industry’s future, the gmec will bring together experts from around the world to launch discussions divided into three panels entitled as follows: Preparing for Ballast Water Treatment; Dealing With the Environmental Challenges of the Future; and, The Passenger Shipping Industry as an Environmental Pioneer. At the beginning of the congress, a keynote speech will be delivered by Tian-Bing Huang, the Acting Deputy Director for Protective Measures in the Marine Environment Division of the IMO.

Deep sea mining and arctic infrastructure developments will be the main subject of discussion at the Offshore Dialogue that is scheduled for September 6th. Focus will be placed on clean shipping, responsible exploration, and marine research, as speakers from renowned organisations such as Rolls-Royce Marine AS, Jacobs University Bremen, and the IMO, will make their thoughts public. The two panels will be moderated by Dr Walter L. Kuehnlein, Chairman of the German Association for Marine Technology, and Anu Fredrikson, Director of Arctic Economic Council Secretariat Norway, respectively.

Starting on the same day, but continuing into the final day of SMM, will be the MS&D – the international conference on maritime security and defence. The key topics that will be covered include the security of international seaways and maritime infrastructure, the deployment of naval forces in international crisis operations, digital security under the threat of cyberattack, as well as new trends in naval technology and green technology. Discussion Panel I will focus on maritime security and will feature academics from universities in Germany and Norway. Panel II is dedicated to maritime defence and will be led by four speakers on September 6th and another two on the next day, who will debate littoral operations, harbour protection, and cyber security, while Panel III will round off the conference with discussion on emerging naval technologies and their potential impact on the sector.

The third edition of the Maritime Career Market will take place on the final day of SMM 2018 and will once again provide companies and visitors with an exclusive platform for job hunting, careers, and professional development. The event gives companies access to potential employees, while presenting job applicants and people looking at their career options with invaluable insights into different career opportunities in the maritime industry.

For companies who would like to exhibit at SMM 2018, there is an option to register online via the event’s website (https://www. Alternatively, they can go through the application process the old-fashioned way, by completing and returning by fax or post their application form. The process of allocating the exhibitors in the halls starts directly after the application deadline. Once a suitable space is found, the organisers offer it to the exhibitor in question who can either accept or decline it. If accepted, a confirmation receipt is then sent out along with log-in details for SMM’s Online Service Center.

Visitors to SMM 2018 are recommended to book their tickets online. A season ticket booked in advance is priced at 47 euros, whereas admission on the day costs 55 euros. Similarly, a two-day ticket and a one-day-ticket can be purchased online for 39 euros and 30 euros, respectively, and for 46 euros and 35 euros onsite. One-day tickets for students are priced 15 euros. To help visitors find what they are looking for, the SMM Theme Routes will guide them to specific exhibitor highlights. These include the Digital Route, Green Route, Security Route, Job Route, and the new Cruise & Ferry Route.

SMM 2018 is an unmissable event for anyone who wants to be up-to-date with the latest developments in the maritime industry, and the world’s number one trade fair in the sector will be ready to greet visitors and exhibitors alike, yet again.
Opening hours:
September 4th – September 6th (Tuesday – Thursday): 9:30 – 18:00
September 7th (Friday) – 9:30 – 16:00