THE MEDIA VOICE OF THE GLOBAL MARINA INDUSTRY

Metstrade remains essential anchor point

The 35th Metstrade in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (15th-17th November 2023) continued to uphold its pole position as the leisure marine industry’s essential anchor point event. Busy networking in the Marina & Yard Pavilion (MYP), and two well-attended vibrant Marina World sessions in the theatre, reinforced the value of the show for all associated with the marina and yard sector.

Metstrade 2023 comprised 1,540 exhibitors from 53 countries across 11 halls at RAI Amsterdam. There were 240 first-time exhibitors, and 18,630 visitors spanning 130 nationalities.
Croatia was the latest nation to launch a pavilion, bringing the total to 29, and the sector-specific pavilions also increased, with the Foiling Technology Pavilion and Start-Up Pavilion joining the well-established Superyacht Pavilion, Construction Materials Pavilion and Marina & Yard Pavilion.
Speaking after the show closed, Metstrade director Niels Klarenbeek emphasised: “It is an absolute privilege to have the heritage and strong bow wave of positive sentiment from 34 editions behind us, but we take nothing for granted. Our team is committed to ensuring that Metstrade facilitates the connections and business required for a successful year ahead.”
“Without the underpinning creativity and enterprise of the supply chain, we have no marine industry. Our 2023 numbers are impressive but they don’t tell the whole story. We are particularly grateful to have received so much positive feedback about the quality of the interactions between our audience and exhibitors over an extremely busy three days,” he added.
Pavilion networking
Most Marina & Yard Pavilion exhibitors reported a steady level of visitors and good interest for the wide variety of products on display. David Bayé of Spanish power pedestal manufacturer Viltec, a first-time exhibitor, described the event as very productive. “Compared to other shows we usually attend, we think it was very well organised in many aspects and there was a large representation of the most important companies in the marina sector. The business contacts we made were numerous and of high quality.”
Mark Coy of US-based dock float manufacturer Den Hartog, was equally satisfied. “Metstrade 2023 was another great success,” he said. “This is our eleventh year of exhibiting and the event provides us the opportunity to meet with new client prospects, existing clients, colleagues and friends. This year we were also able to meet our Japanese distributor Yachting World.”
Marina World was delighted to host a Waterfront Drinks reception, which was well attended by marina owners, operators and MYP exhibitors.
Looking to the future
In the first of two Marina World discussion sessions in the Metstrade theatre, both expertly chaired by marina consultant Oscar Siches, attention was focused on ‘Marinas of the Future’. Siches was joined by Melanie Symes of marina consultancy Innovamarina and Patrick Lindley, CEO of Portuguese marina builder Grupo Lindley. The key issues of operational stumbling blocks, sustainability, and best use of data were amongst topics discussed.
Siches on operations: “We should spend time teaching Government how to deal with marinas. Government has never understood marinas. There are exceptions but boating is still considered a sport for people with money. And we are probably the least polluting sport in the world, especially sailing.”
Symes on sustainability: “I think we need to look outdoors – outside our comfort zone. We need to be proactive and we don’t have the innate knowledge so we are going to have to ask.”
Lindley on building sustainably:
“Part of our role is to help marina owners manage infrastructure more efficiently. We’ve been looking at materials and starting to measure carbon footprint and we are surprised by some new findings. The carbon footprint of concrete and aluminium, for example, are very similar and I’m getting data that tells me that tropical hardwood has the same carbon footprint as composites.”
Oscar Siches (standing) with Patrick Lindley and Melanie Symes discuss  marinas of the future.

Oscar Siches (standing) with Patrick Lindley and Melanie Symes discuss marinas of the future.

In terms of data usage, Symes pointed out the value of using data from diverse sources, e.g. oceanographic data, and Lindley emphasised that “data is measuring the path, not predicting the future.”
The future of marinas in many parts of the world is also affected by concession terms – another reason for tightening up good relations with local councils and Government. Lindley emphasised that a path needs to be found that encourages investment in infrastructure in the end stages of a concession.
Discussing diversity
Franco Ceroici of Italian dockside equipment manufacturer Plus International joined Oscar Siches to discuss the merits of diversity within the marina workforce. Idan Cohen of Pick-a-Pier, scheduled as the third presenter, was unfortunately unable to travel from Israel due to the ongoing Middle East conflict.
Siches, a well-travelled Argentine who has lived in Mallorca, Spain for many years, gave a fascinating slide presentation explaining the diversity issue:
“It is estimated that 80-85% of our perception and learning are facilitated through our visual sense. Vision is important for many different skills including interacting with others, spotting danger or opportunities to play, eat, sleep, finding things we need, reading, writing etc.” But what we ‘see’ doesn’t give us the full picture. “A minority position [in society] often makes you ‘racialised’ before you’re allowed access to your ethnic identity. While in their home countries they were Moroccan or Jordanian or Algerian, they come to the EU – and they’re Arabs.”
Franco Ceroici (left) and Oscar Siches fully engage the audience in highlighting blinkered views on diversity that rob us of the chance to enhance our lives and businesses.

Franco Ceroici (left) and Oscar Siches fully engage the audience in highlighting blinkered views on diversity that rob us of the chance to enhance our lives and businesses.

“Diversity recognises that people are unique and that each person is different in a visible and non-visible way. The qualifiers include race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.”
How can we embrace diversity? Current staff shortage might actually help. Ceroici, a Slovenian brought up in Italy, noted: “Diversity is very small in the European workforce, but now it’s harder to get staff, employees are coming in from other parts of the world.” But we need to ‘individualise’ rather than ‘generalise’ these new recruits. “It’s important to greet and acknowledge people; make them visible,” Siches emphasised. “We have a duty to re-educate – the cleaner and the CEO both go to the barbecue.”
The problem with diversity is within companies. “Your marina is a mini America – different people and different cultures. We are permanently being judged by the community and they have more power than us. Gender, religion – everything enhances your marina,” Siches concluded.

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