Dear Secretary General Lim,
dear State Secretary Nussbaum,
dear Mr. Aufderheide,
dear members of Parliaments and the Consular Corps,
ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Since 1963, Hamburg has been hosting the Leading International Maritime Fair. This year, we are proud to welcome 2,200 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors from over 60 countries.
The SMM looks to bring together all the most important technological innovations across the entire value chain.
From central issues such as Smart Shipping, Digital Industry and the IMO’s new environmental protection guidelines, we embark on a discussion of some of the most crucial topics of the shipping industry, of our ports and seas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s biggest universal port and the third-largest container port in Europe. With its four container terminals, three cruise ship terminals, about 50 specialised transshipment facilities, 7,300 logistics companies and its excellent railway connections, our port is flexible and efficient.
Hamburg ranks among the prime locations for shipping companies in Europe. Renowned research institutes such as the Fraunhofer Centre for Maritime Logistics and Services have made Hamburg their home and the point of departure for innovative work all over the world.
The Port of Hamburg is a symbol both of tradition and modernity. For centuries it has been the beating heart of our city and the basis for our economic strength and prosperity.
To ensure this in the future, my Senate has given priority to the further strengthening and growth of our port.
On the 23rd of August, an important decision for the future of our port was reached.
Thanks to the recent passing of supplementary planning decisions on a national and regional level, the Higher Court’s requirements have been met and Hamburg has finally obtained the permits to make necessary adjustments to the waterways of the Elbe.
This is great news to Hamburg and its maritime business community: by extending the Elbe, making it broader and deeper, we are making our port more accessible to the large vessels, which can reach Hamburg more easily in the future.
Our port, steeped in tradition as it may be, has become in recent years a testing ground for cutting-edge technology.
Whether we are talking about real-time navigation, mobile all-purpose sensors or digital warehouse solutions: our port is a laboratory of digital innovation.
We are currently experimenting with automated vessels, we are testing a fleet with digital ship’s logs, and we are preparing the infrastructure to communicate at 5G speed.
Digital tools from private software companies and IT-providers support both the shipping industry and administrative procedures such as customs clearance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hamburg ranks among the most important maritime hubs in the world. With this prominent position comes the responsibility to keep global challenges in mind.
A necessary part of this is the promotion of sustainable, low-emission drive systems. Hamburg has been providing liquified natural gas as well as electric charging facilities in the Cruise Centre Altona as an alternative to fossil fuels.
As a popular destination of cruise ships, Hamburg is happy to see more and more shipping companies taking an interest in being supplied with renewable energy.
As we share this priority, the Hamburg Port Authority’s fees offer a discount to environmentally conscious companies when they use on shore power supply or LNG.
Companies with eco certificates such as “Blauer Engel” and “Green Award” also receive special discounts.
Minimise resource consumption and maximise economic force – that is what we are trying to do.
In order to tackle this challenge, Hamburg is trying to provide a platform where research institutes and companies can come together and develop future innovations.
The German Maritime Centre is a think tank which fosters interdisciplinary exchange and finds ways to translate scientific insights into actionable products and services for the maritime industry.
It supports the research community by consulting, helping on projects and facilitating questions such as how to obtain funding or find business partners.
The Maritime Research Forum at the SMM will be an opportunity to gain an insight into some of these topics and discussions.
The German Maritime Centre will also be working to further strengthen the connections between the members of the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany, which is a unique network between industries, working together across federal state boundaries – right here in Hamburg.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear guests,
Hamburg is more than a ship-building and a ship-building equipment site. It is a place where you can find a singular concentration of expertise and an abundance of business partners across the full range of the maritime industry.
And that, of course, brings us back to why we are here today: the biggest trade fair for the maritime industry in the world. Here to tell you more is Bernd Aufderheide, Chairman of the Board at Hamburg Messe und Congress.
I wish all of you a great fair, with many interesting conversations and promising new contacts. And, of course, a wonderful time in Hamburg.
Thank you very much.