BY MARTIN UHLENFELDT
IT´S ALL ABOUT
That is the theme of this year’s Danish Maritime Fair, where the focus has been shifted from products to relations. With experiences from the past two years, the team behind the Danish Maritime Fair has analyzed different concepts, both with the help of external consultants specializing in B2B events but also with visits to international fairs and events. The purpose of this has been to find the perfect formula to create a venue for the Danish maritime industry and those who work closely with us, or would like to in the future. The idea of creating a meeting place for the industry has been brewing for a while, but it wasn’t until the cooperation between MARPRO and Maritime Denmark, that a foundation was created for a project of this magnitude. It was in the autumn of 2013, after a visit to Danfish, where several of the exhibitors expressed a need for an alternative to Danfish, as their marketing in the fishing industry was rapidly declining. Several of them also expressed a slight frustration about the fact that the Danish branch had to meet in Oslo for a maritime fair that also happens to be very expensive. After a series of conversations with top officials from several major equipment suppliers, the decision was made, that it was time to create a Danish event. A rough draft of a business plan was prepared, planned to launch in the spring of 2015. This provided enough time to work everything out, time to obtain agreements with key partners. In the spring of 2014, it was politically decided to allocate funds in order to strengthen the Danish maritime industry. The idea was, that a concept with a weeklong focus on the Danish maritime industry, would put The Blue Denmark on the global map, increase exports and create more jobs in the industry. Although it resulted in very little time to develop a project, it was an opportunity that could not be missed. It was decided to put the first Danish Maritime Fair event in the same week as the Danish Maritime Days - in week 41. The timing, seen with the Danish equipment supplier’s eyes, was really bad, as week 41 was only 1 month after the largest and most important event of them all in the global maritime industry, SMM in Hamburg. There was no time for big ideas and partnerships, and the most important thing in the eyes
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of the organizers, were getting started and planting some seeds. However, things moved along very quickly and after just 7 months, an event with 180 exhibitors, numerous conferences and about 4.000 visitors were a reality. The general model for the event was the international B2B trade fairs, were a lot of expertise was obtained, which helped build the fair in 2015. The largest strategic gamble was a relocation from the Bella Center to the more rustic and original venue, Lokomotivværkstedet in the center of Copenhagen. The move was motivated partly by a desire to move the fair even closer to the ship owners and also to create a fair with a more personal atmosphere.
is going to be the main focus. The strategic details that were not in place last year due to the timeframe are now in place.
Unfortunately, the Danish Maritime Days 2015 was during the same week as Danfish, leaving both visitors and exhibitors interested in both things, in a dilemma. In spite of that, the fair grew and ended up with 4550 visitors, 218 exhibitors and a large conference program.
The three organizations behind Danish Maritime Days are now all deeply involved in DMF. The Danish Maritime Authority will be there with a 21m2 large stand and the Danish Shipowners Association are organizing a 84m2 large Shipowners Lounge where they will plan different events. Last but not least, Danish Maritime will once again host the conference Danish Maritime Technology which has moved from 120 to 260 delegates.
Everything went extremely fast from the first idea was born, and through a lot of questionnaires that were returned from both exhibitors and visitors, it was time to evaluate the different aspects of the fair, especially the timing.
On Wednesday, the second day of the Fair, the aim is to create the largest maritime dinner in the history of Denmark, where the plan is to bring 480 people together for entertainment, good food and drinks.
Organizationally, it was clear that there was a need for a strong organization for the project and it was decided that MARPRO transferred all its activities to Maritime Denmark and Jakob le Fevre became a co-owner of Maritime Denmark ApS.
At the fair, exhibitors and key people can network in an exhibitor lounge with full board and there is currently a lot of work going towards creating a B2B speed dating event and attract a large port conference.
The result of the evaluation is a Danish Maritime Fair 2016, where networking and both creating new and maintaining existing relationships
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From the very first year, the Danish Ports have been an important partner of DMF and to the question why Danish Ports has chosen to support the project and become partners, Bjarne