Nor-Shipping, Your Arena for Ocean Solutions, has taken the decision to postpone its planned exhibition and activity programme for June 2021, pushing the event back to 10-13 January 2022. Faced with the possibility of a scaled down, socially distanced exhibition due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Nor-Shipping has opted to move to retain its “personality and impact”, ensuring global decision makers have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, connect and build prosperous partnerships.
Nor-Shipping 2019 was the most successful event week in the initiative’s over 50-year history. It saw more than 50,000 participants (a 34% increase over 2017), gathering from over 85 nations, at the main exhibition halls in Lillestrøm and across venues throughout nearby Oslo. However, under the current circumstances, the planned 2021 programme could not have delivered the same industry impact, experience and value, state Nor-Shipping Directors Karen Algaard and Per Martin Tanggaard.
Face-to-face with opportunity
“Nor-Shipping is renowned as the global gathering point for ocean stakeholders,” says Tanggaard. “A place where they can meet in person, connect, share knowledge, build relationships, and really enable the strategies to unlock sustainable success in the ocean space. 2019 demonstrated that appeal, and it was our plan to build on that in 2021, giving this unique community even more support, even more value, and even more success. It’s now become clear we can’t deliver on that ambition.”
“Health and safety comes first,” stresses Algaard. “We are committed to following stringent standards with regards to minimising the risk of infection, and, at present, that means fewer people, less interaction and more distance between exhibitors and participants. We believe that isn’t in keeping with the essence of Nor-Shipping. However, by delaying the programme a little we can offer everything we have become known for, and more, with a uniquely Norwegian flavour in January 2022. It gives us and, we hope, the entire industry something very special to look forward to.”
The decision has been taken in consultation with all Nor-Shipping partners and a number of exhibitors, who overwhelmingly supported a move to enable greater contact and connection. Of those approached, over 90% of exhibitors were in favour of the rescheduling, with many stating that any participation in a summer 2021 event could have been challenging. 100% of partners backed the decision. It was further noted that the opportunity to provide a “once in a lifetime” Norwegian winter experience could be a significant draw for participants, as well as an opportunity to tailor memorable exhibition stands and activities.
“One of Nor-Shipping’s defining qualities is its ability to bring together people from the entire spectrum of ocean business,” notes Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO Maritime, DNV GL. “It is a place to inspire and be inspired, coming face-to-face with the individuals, technology and services that will write the next chapters in the story of how we conduct responsible commercial activity within the ocean environment. That Nor-Shipping ‘personality’ is something special. It’s unfortunate we have to wait to experience it again, but safety must come first, and I believe the delay will only serve to increase its value.”
Jan Ole Huseby, Global Head of Ocean Industries, DNB, agrees: “Success in the ocean business environment hinges on having the right partners, with the right expertise, and Nor-Shipping is an arena to meet them. I believe we’ve all had our eyes opened to the potential of digital channels over the course of the pandemic, but the importance of face-to-face interaction with the people that matter cannot be overstated. It’s something we’ve all missed. Nor-Shipping 2022 will help us reconnect. DNB supports this decision.”
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has stated an expectation that social distancing measures will be in place until either the end of summer or autumn 2021. As such, Algaard says a postponement is the sensible move – for both the event and the industry it showcases and supports.
“We’ve been reviewing a number of scenarios for some time as the pandemic situation has evolved,” she says. “It’s always been our aim to build on the momentum of 2019 – developing our business, operations and strategy to deliver optimal impact for our customers and participants – but over time it’s become clear that 2021 would not provide the platform we want, and industry needs.”
“So, we’ve listened to our stakeholders and changed our plans to meet their objectives. That is what we’re here to do; support them and their businesses, delivering an exhibition and activities that help them succeed in a world confronted by both real challenges, and real opportunity. 2022 will give them what 2021 cannot – a first class arena full of first-class global decision makers,” Algaard continues.
Nor-Shipping is currently working on a selection of digital initiatives to take place during 2021. Further details of these, and the 2022 event, will be released in the near future.