Anyone working in the shipping industry will know that face-to-face meetings and networking is what we do best. As organisations worldwide increasingly turn to virtual solutions as a way of doing business, the thousands of shore-based people working in shipping still place immense value on being periodically congregated by events companies for the purpose of doing business and debating current challenges faced. But what happens when event companies can’t do that anymore?
Right now, the COVID-19 virus is creating absolute havoc for companies in the event management business. In our industry, the majority of events scheduled for March, April and May have been postponed, or those that did go ahead suffered low attendance rates. For marketing professionals in the industry, this mass postponement of events is turning into somewhat of a nightmare, the result being the bunching up of many re-scheduled events in September. Exhibition fatigue is now feared by many, although whether those postponed events will actually go ahead on their re-scheduled date is anyone’s guess.
While there’s nothing like face-to-face, honest and open dialog at industry conferences for the sharing of information and ideas, the time and financial requirements of big events, paired with the current risk of novel contagions, make virtual alternatives much more attractive.
For companies who sell a technology or a service into the shipping industry, maritime events provide the perfect platform for forging new business, prospering existing business relationships and publicly airing details about progressions, R&D activities and commercial successes that sometimes a press release or well-written magazine article cannot convey with as much punch. As such, the exploitation of virtual solutions for bringing maritime conferences to people’s desk is in great need in the industry. Not only now during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the future.
Swedish clean technology innovators Lean Marine Sweden AB and I-Tech AB have taken matters into their own hands following their recent participation in Informa’s Green Ship Technology (GST) Europe in Copenhagen in mid-March. This conference is normally an annual meeting point for anyone wanting to accelerate green shipping initiatives worldwide. This year, it was hit at its mid-point by the Danish COVID-19 lock down causing 90% of attendees to flee, leaving presenters to deliver their speeches to an empty room (pretty much).
While shore-based industry personnel across the globe turn to home working with limited, or prohibited social contact, the two Gothenburg-based companies have taken to the virtual world to recreate the GST ‘vessel efficiency’ panel session experience online, bringing the conference presentations to the temporary desk of those interested in vessel efficiency. Even though the hotel bar for beers and wine post-conference won’t be a highlight, sipping coffee or tea is encouraged.
The first virtual conference session was hosted by Lean Marine and I-Tech on the topic of ‘What you can do today to enhance vessel efficiency’ on Thursday March 26 at 08:30 GMT/09.30 CET/16.30SGT.
The interactive session included short presentations from two speakers, Mikael Laurin – CEO at Lean Marine Sweden AB on the topic: ‘How much fuel saving could your vessel get through operational excellence?’, and Markus Hoffman – Technical director at I-Tech AB on the topic: ‘barnacle fouling: how big is the problem and is there a quick fix solution?’ in addition to Q&A sessions.
Click here to watch the recorded video of the 1-hour virtual conference session.