MARINE industry trade show given the thumbs-up by local manufacturers and suppliers.

The recently-concluded METS trade show in Amsterdam is the most important international B2B marine equipment event of the year – a status reinforced by the latest outing which drew a record number of exhibitors (1,385) and attendees (21, 953) over the three days.

Among them were a growing number of companies from Australia and New Zealand hoping to catch the eye of international buyers and build their overseas markets.

Post-show feedback from Australian representatives who made the trip was very positive with a number commenting on the growing significance of the show for the local industry.

“It’s always been a good show for Australian companies,” said John Hogan, CEO of Superior Jetties. “It’s only for the trade. It’s held in November, its freezing cold outside so you only get the die-hards and committed individuals.”

That makes METS the ideal environment in which to do business, said Hogan who has attended seven or eight shows in the past. He ranks this one as better than the last few.

Positives for local exhibitors included a bigger US contingent this year which, located close to the Australians, created an upbeat vibe at the show. There were also more Australian companies this year, said Hogan, and more large stands to boost their presence.

As a result, METS has become an important vehicle for businesses to promote the local industry, said Hogan.

“The overseas customers won’t find their way to Australia so we have to go to them,” he commented.

As well as building international contacts and sourcing new products, the show also helps local companies to forge new bonds and partnerships between themselves, as well as help each other out at the show.

“You get lots of coaching from other businesses. It really is Team Australia,” he added.

According to METS first-timer, Duncan Stirling from Hella Marine, the show proved to be very successful for the lighting specialist which was exhibiting its new EuroLED 75 downlights, Module 70 and Sea Hawk XLB floodlights.

“A lot of effort when into a Distributor Seminar the day before the show opened and this set the tone for a very professional and successful show‎.

“The first two days were extremely busy with back-to-back appointments, while the third day was an opportunity to see what else was new in the marine market.”

Stirling said Hella Marine received some significant orders from customers during the show.

“Feedback from everyone visiting the show was extremely positive and confident‎ with a feeling the European market may be slightly more buoyant than recent years,” he added.

Although it was Stirling’s first visit to the show, he said his colleagues rated it as possibly the best METS ever.

More than just a showcase

Marine electronics supplier, GME, was out in force at the show with no fewer than four senior executives in attendance, including CEO Warwick Clancy and two top R&D engineers. It was GME’s 15th consecutive METS appearance.

“This increased presence emphasises the growing importance we attach to this show,” said Sean Griffin, commercial consultant. “For many years our journey to Amsterdam has been purely a marketing exercise, albeit our most important on the international circuit. This is no longer the case.

“In recent times METS has expanded to become significantly more than a showcase for marine equipment. It is now a true industry meeting place, providing a marvellous venue for research, networking, technology seminars and, to quote the METS blurb, ‘inspiration and innovation’.”

Griffin agreed with other suppliers that METS 2015 was the best for several years.

“We had the opportunity to meet with all of our European distributors along with several new potential distribution partners from Eastern European and South American countries.

“Moreover with the value of the Australian currency dropping against the Euro, the pound and the US dollar, our products now more affordable in these key export markets.”

GME used the show to debut its R300BT waterproof stereo which combines an AM/FM radio with integrated Bluetooth streaming from any smart phone, tablet or compatible device.

“Perfect for a wide variety of craft, from cabin cruisers, open fishing boats, day sailors or even jet skis, the GR300BT received a most encouraging all round reception at the show,” added Griffin.

 – Marine Business World