In a candid interview, Director Sidsel Norvik admits she expected “inevitable cancellations” as a result of the schedule change, but says these have been “minimal”, while those that have pulled out have simply transferred attendance to the summer 2023 event. What’s more, she notes, new bookings are now being made by firms that couldn’t exhibit in January but can in April.
The pull of people
“Obviously, we can’t pretend it’s ‘business as usual’ right now,” she comments, “but there’s a genuine belief that April will provide a long-awaited physical gathering for our industry – a hub to network, learn, build relationships and be inspired by one another. People are the core of this business, and the burning desire to come together and re-energise the community for the challenges and opportunities ahead is obvious in everyone we speak to.”
The last Nor-Shipping was in summer 2019, when some 50,000 participants interacted with around 900 international exhibitors at Your Arena for Ocean Solutions’ 22,000 sq m facility in Lillestrøm. A tailored activity programme of awards, knowledge sharing and networking events took place both there and in Oslo.
Of the exhibitors originally booked for January’s Nor-Shipping 2022, Norvik says that 94% have committed to April, while the number of new exhibitors – if the current booking trend continues – will easily make up for the cancellations.
She notes: “There hasn’t been a large-scale industry event since the start of the pandemic, and our stakeholders see the next Nor-Shipping as an opportunity to get back to normal, or at least embrace the new normal, as we look to a future of sustainable success within the ocean. Our main partners have re-committed their support, our theme of #ACTION in the ocean space is clearly chiming with an ambitious industry, and April will obviously see easier travel, networking and interaction as infection rates fall away and vaccination programmes continue.
“We see this a fresh start,” Norvik statess. “And we can’t wait to welcome the industry ‘back to business’ again.”
Norwegian national coronavirus restrictions are expected to ease this week, while many other key industry markets – such as England, Denmark and France – have either ended theirs, or in the process of fazing them out. Norvik says this cements her belief that the April date is “the right one” for Nor-Shipping stakeholders.
“We could’ve waited until Nor-Shipping 2023 next June,” she concludes, “but I think we’ve already waited long enough… everyone has. It’s time for this unique industry to gather and take positive business #ACTION to enable a bright, profitable future. That’s a mission that just won’t wait. I’m really happy that our exhibitors agree and delighted that more are coming onboard.
Nor-Shipping 2022 runs from 4-7 April. Highlights include knowledge sharing activities such
as the Ocean Leadership Conference and Blue Talks, vibrant networking opportunities, the exhibition itself, unique partner events, and a broad range of targeted activities to ensure optimal networking and ocean business development.