The German-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce is a networking and business support organisation that helps build bridges between ambitious players in these two closely associated national markets. Operating since 1986, the body is a natural partner for companies that want to trade, establish networks, and initiate partnerships and collaboration bilaterally. Maritime and the ocean are key focus areas for the Oslo-based team.
Andreas Totzauer is one of the leading figures at the chamber, with a commercial remit that takes in organising the German Pavilion at Nor-Shipping – one of Your Arena for Ocean Solutions’ largest national pavilions.
Here he discusses the importance of face-to-face contact, the similarities between the markets, and the need to work together to unlock future potential.
Dive in and see what you discover.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the ocean industries over the next decade?
We see the focus on the environment as an opportunity rather than simply a challenge. The ‘greening’ of shipping is a crucial transition that can only be facilitated by a new generation of solutions, services and energy sources. That calls for commitment – driven by political agendas – but also collaboration, with actors working across borders to achieve the most ambitious objectives. We can’t solve this global puzzle working in isolation, so we need to find the right partners, regardless of geography.
Germany and Norway have a great deal in common when it comes to maritime and energy expertise, so we see a strong potential for collaborations to prosper, profit and help both industry and society.
And on an energy front, renewables are an obvious focus for all our futures, particularly, we believe, hydrogen.
What do you regard as the greatest challenge?
It’s impossible to ignore coronavirus right now. The world is moving in the right direction at the moment but how and when will it fully emerge, and what will business look like in a post COVID-19 world?
Speaking to our members and customers, sales have been a challenge in the pandemic. Digital channels have worked quite well, but there’s nothing like physical meetings for building understanding, relationships and potential. That’s really the essence of what we do here.
Hopefully, pandemics are a short-term problem, but this global event has demonstrated the unpredictability, and fragility, of a reality we previously took for granted.
What do you see as the unique strength of your business and how will it help you succeed?
Rather than the chamber I’ll focus on the companies and markets we represent. Here we have two world leaders with mature clusters that are defined by expertise, high quality and a desire to innovate to get, and stay, ahead. Both face challenges – particularly with regards to being high cost countries to operate in – but that just fuels the fire of creativity, the ambition to find new ways of doing things better… through, for example, automation technology and energy efficient solutions. A willingness to work together will, of course, only strengthen this sense of industry leadership.
What key skills are you looking for in the next generation of industry professionals and how are you working to attract new talent?
We are not industry experts, instead focusing on supporting those that are. However, I would note that in the rush to embrace digital technology we can sometimes forget how important the human factor is. We feel those with good interpersonal skills, team players, those that can build valuable networks and relationships will be key to progress.
What are you most looking forward to at Nor-Shipping 2022?
As I said before, nothing can compare to meeting face-to-face and our customers are very much looking forward to that. I am too. Even with the postponement Nor-Shipping will still be the first major maritime event in Europe since the pandemic began, so there’ll be a genuine sense of excitement throughout the business community.
Also, I think we all greatly appreciate the way Nor-Shipping ‘flows’ across whole days in Oslo and Lillestrøm. At other exhibitions you have a window of maybe eight hours to build relationships and conduct business. However, at Nor-Shipping you have perhaps 12-14 hours as everyone leaves the exhibition and then goes onto social and networking events – it feels like you have a strong sense of community, in addition to a high quality of decision makers. That’s a real attraction. It’ll be interesting to see how that atmosphere adapts to a Winter setting. So, there’s a lot to look forward to.
What three words sum up your vision for the future?
Collaboration, quality, innovation
Nor-Shipping 2022 – Your Arena for Ocean Solutions – takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, 10-13 January 2022. Make sure you’re part of the #ACTION. Sign up NOW for our newsletter!