Per Martin Tanggaard, Nor-Shipping’s straight-talking new Director, plots a path forward for an industry and exhibition that, he believes, can access new opportunities by playing to traditional strengths.
“We’re not here to challenge the industry, we’re here to serve it,” says a freshly shaven-headed Per Martin Tanggaard, Nor-Shipping’s newly installed Director. “But that doesn’t mean we’re going to take a submissive role either.
“We believe we can actively help maritime address current challenges and increase future profit and sustainability. So we intend to work in partnership with our customers to find solutions and access new business opportunities.
“But how?” Tanggaard smiles, sensing the question already hanging in the air. “By looking at where the growth is,” he says simply.
“By looking to the oceans.”
A new arena
Nor-Shipping is, without doubt, one of the major events on the maritime calendar. Once every two years it attracts around 35,000 industry decision makers to a series of venues across the Oslo region, with it’s bustling hub at the 21,000m2 exhibition halls of Norges Varemesse in Lillestrøm. Here approximately 1000 exhibiting companies showcase their latest products, services and innovations, building relationships, creating awareness and, most importantly of all, doing deals. It has been, up until its last outing in 2017, ‘the leading maritime event week’. But no more.
From 2019 Nor-Shipping is undergoing a subtle but important change. It will now be marketed as ‘your arena for ocean solutions’.
“Shipping remains at the heart of Nor-Shipping, you can see that in our name,” laughs Tanggaard, until recently Nor-Shipping’s Exhibition Director and before that a former offshore broker, sales manager for Wartsila Ship Design and, somewhat surprisingly, funeral director. “Showcasing and supporting the maritime industry is what we exist for. And the best way to do that, we believe, is by embracing new ocean opportunities.”
Going with the growth
The ‘we’ Tanggaard refers to are his team, Nor-Shipping’s advisory board, key sponsors and stakeholders, and, it seems, a growing body of individuals and organizations both within and outside the traditional maritime industry.
“According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), value creation from ocean activities is set to double by 2030,” he states, “with key growth areas including, for example, port activities, tourism, food production and processing, energy development, minerals and mining, amongst other segments. At the same time maritime is under increased pressure, with a recent report from Danish Ship Finance forecasting growth of just 1% over the next five to ten years.”
He continues; “No one needs me to tell them that shipping, and its traditional cyclical nature, has changed over the past decade or so. The only thing we seem able to predict is its unpredictability, and that clearly isn’t a reassuring platform for growth. But here, with ocean activities, we have very clear positive indicators and that provides a huge opportunity for maritime.”
As Tanggaard goes on to stress, the ocean industries, particularly those focusing on ‘new’ arenas, cannot grow in isolation. They require the expertise, resources and infrastructure of maritime to realize their potential. As an example, look to the growth of commercial fish farming and the offshore wind industry, which have been reliant on adapting the skills, technology and assets of offshore shipping to prosper.
“Maritime is the foundation for building success in the ocean environment,” he explains. “So as ocean industries grow maritime players that are open to new opportunities can grow in tandem with them. This is in no way a threat to our industry. It is simply a compelling prospect for a new wave of development.”
Tanggaard and his team are now positioning Nor-Shipping as the point at which the maritime, ocean and wider business sectors can intersect – the natural arena for meeting, establishing mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborative working models, and moving towards a sustainable, successful and profitable future.
“Everybody looking to the ocean needs our competence, technology and products,” he reiterates. “At the same time, maritime can benefit enormously from working closer with industries where we can adopt new skills, understanding and innovation – whether that be the tech sector, logistics, manufacturing or financial services. We want Nor-Shipping to be the arena where all these parties can meet, access one another’s talents and build better businesses.”
Sensible steps forward
But, and it’s a big but, the new Director is at pains to stress that a fresh focus does not mean a departure from established strengths.
“We live and breathe for maritime,” he says with conviction. “We are taking this move to support the industry, rather than dilute what we do or tinker with a winning formula. Nor-Shipping’s mission will continue to be showcasing and selling the best maritime products, innovations and solutions, but we’ll be strengthening that by attracting new audiences and accessing fresh business opportunities. We believe that will make perfect sense to everyone in the market.”
As does, he believes, Nor-Shipping’s on-going focus on sustainability. Sustainability for Tanggaard means more than just the environment, it also encompasses commercial sustainability and the benefits that commerce provides for people worldwide, including education, employment and increased prosperity.
“Sustainability is one of our strategic pillars and we tailor all our activity with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals front of mind. As maritime and the ocean industries embrace one another and activity blossoms it’s crucial that we safeguard our environment, people and standards. For long-term success we have to build on solid foundations. We hope to play an important part in that process.”
Nor-Shipping 2019 takes place 04 – 07 June 2019 across a series of venues in Oslo and Lillestrøm. As in 2017 it will feature six themed halls, with Hall A dedicated to the concept of Disruptive Sustainability, showcasing transformative ideas and innovations from maritime and the broader business, tech and finance sectors. A tailored programme of activities designed to enable networking, learning and good old-fashioned fun will take place around the social hub of ‘Festival Street’ in city centre Oslo.
The Oslo area itself will play a greater role in proceedings in 2019. In the same way Tanggaard plans to use Nor-Shipping as an arena for bringing together industries, he also wants to bring in new regional organisations, businesses and partnerships, with activities across new venues.
“There is a lot going on in and around the city,” he says, “a thriving business ecosystem. We are part of that, but, as yet, we haven’t fully exploited it.
“I believe we can tap into that energy, potential and infrastructure to further boost the industry and our activities. We can create more of a ‘business festival’ feel rather than a standalone exhibition and support activities. That will attract more people and, as a result, more possibilities for our industry.”
In another landmark development, those wishing to take advantage of the Nor-Shipping arena won’t have to wait until next year. Or head to Norway for that matter. In May this year Nor-Shipping launches its first activity outside its homeland with the Opening Oceans Conference in Copenhagen.
“As the name implies, this event supports and initiates the focus on accessing ocean business opportunities,” Tanggaard explains. “It aims to attract the most senior levels of maritime, ocean industry, financial, advisory, and policy leaders within Northern Europe, providing a new platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing and growth. The calibre of speakers we’ve already attracted, with big names like Maersk, Statoil, OECD, the UN and World Economic Forum, shows the desire to work together and take advantage of this chance to build a strategy and framework for sustainable business within the ocean space. It is a genuinely exciting initiative for us and, we believe, everyone interested in commercial activity associated with the sea.”
“I can’t think of a better way we can serve this industry than working to enable its future growth and success.”
Opening Oceans Conference is timed to coincide with Danish Maritime Days, 2-3 May 2018, and is supported by both the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and Danish Shipping. For more details see www.openingoceans.com