Nor-Shipping’s Tanggaard sets out a vision for 2019 and beyond

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 Mr Tanggaard. “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?” Mr Tanggaard smiles, sensing the question already hanging in the air. “By looking at where the growth is,” he says simply.

“By looking at the oceans.”

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 its 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 Mr 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.”

The ‘we’ Mr Tanggaard refers to are his team, Nor-Shipping’s advisory board, key sponsors and stakeholders, and, it seems, a growing body of individuals and organisations 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.

“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 Mr 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 realise 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.”

Mr 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 closely 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.”

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 Mr 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 to 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 must build on solid foundations. We hope to play an important part in that process.”

Nor-Shipping 2019 takes place 4th – 7th 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.