[ 1 December 2023 by Maritime Trends 0 Comments ]

Asime holds in Vigo the 2nd edition of the Maritime Trends Summit, international congress for the naval, maritime and port industry

  • Asime held today in Vigo the second edition of the Maritime Trends Summit.
  • The International Naval, Maritime and Port Congress brought together more than 200 business representatives and leading organisations in the sector at national and international level, who discussed the latest trends and the future of this industry, while establishing contacts to close new projects and collaborations.
  • The event was sponsored by the companies Ardora, Brezo, Coterena, Detegasa, Galenergy, Industrias Ferri, Grenalia, Grupo Davila, Marinsa, Ocean Winds and Royal Roos.

Asime has held in Vigo the 2nd edition of Maritime Trends Summit, the international reference congress for the naval, maritime and port industry.

The event began yesterday, 29th November, with business visits to the facilities of the Armón shipyard and the Port Authority of Vigo, as well as a networking cocktail at the Real Club Náutico de Vigo with all the attendees, which was inaugurated by the Regional Minister of Economy, Industry and Innovation, María Jesús Lorenzana and the Mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero.

On Thursday 30 November, the congress activity moved to the Mar de Vigo Auditorium, where more than 20 speakers and 200 attendees have gathered.

With this initiative, the Galician metal cluster offers a meeting place for the naval-maritime and port industry at international level: “Maritime Trends Summit consolidates in this second edition as a reference event in the sector. It is a unique congress, which differs from other events because it is very business oriented. At the same time as we analyse together the latest trends in the sector, what we are looking for is to generate business opportunities”. To do this, he explains, they have “brought buyers closer to our companies in the naval-maritime world, which in Asime are more than 270, one of our core activities,” said Enrique Mallón, Secretary General of Asime.

The event brought together more than 200 national and international experts, including major shipbuilders, port representatives, maritime multinationals, heads of SMEs in the value chain, leaders of marine energy projects and, especially, purchasing managers of all these companies, who attended the event to attract potential suppliers, as explained from Asime.

7 thematic sessions

During the opening, Enrique Mallón, Secretary General of Asime, highlighted that the Galician naval-maritime industry has a unique and consolidated international brand.”Its wide range of capabilities, services and potential make it especially interesting for investors and customers ranging from cutting-edge shipbuilding and ship repair to efficient logistics with the motorway of the sea.

“In Galicia there are more than 270 companies with naval-maritime capacity integrated in Asime. This is a strong industry, which generates around 8,000 jobs and supports the economy of our territory. We are also a purely exporting industry, 90% of the ships built in Galicia in the last decade were exported abroad”.

Maritime Trends Summit hosted in 7 sessions debates on topical issues such as the current reality of shipyards and shipowners, ways of diversification, opportunities in defence, logistics and port challenges, technological innovations or the rise of marine energy. For this purpose, expert speakers from all the key areas of the international naval-maritime and port industry participated: national and international shipyards (Grupo Armón, Damen Shipyards, West Sea Viana, Nodosa Shipyard, Astilleros Gondán) European research centres (Fraunhofer CML, Centre for Logistics and Maritime Services); shipowning companies (Tri Marine, Armadora Pereira, Mystic Cruises); offshore wind promoters and producers (Greenalia, Ocean Winds); defence and security (Spanish Navy, Guardia Civil); and institutional authorities and other international actors.

Institutional closure

At the closing of the congress, Justo Sierra, President of Asime, stressed that “the productive capacity occupied is around 85% on average. Our order book represents 33% of the total of national CGTs, but Galicia accumulated 96% of all new contracts signed by Spanish shipyards in the first half of 2023.

Therefore, the growth path is evident; we are in a good moment for the Galician shipbuilding industry and we must continue reinforcing this trend, that is why congresses like Maritime Trends are important to close new orders and collaborations.

Regarding the challenges, Sierra highlighted that “we have major challenges ahead of us, such as the decarbonisation of a sector that, due to its technical characteristics, cannot be based solely on electrification. Innovation and training of professionals will play a crucial role, and in this context it is essential to mobilise sufficient public-private support through the naval PERTE and other important initiatives, which permeate towards SMEs and promote a real transformation of our productive fabric”, he concluded.

Elena Espinosa, Deputy Mayor of the City of Vigo: “The value chain of the naval, maritime and port sector involves a wide network of partners, suppliers and public and private organisations that make up an ecosystem that must collaborate efficiently, something that has been more than achieved in this Maritime Trends Summit. The biggest challenge now is to engage with the environment and in that respect we need to pioneer components and services in the field of emission reduction.

“Let us stand together for the sustainability of our industry, always based on the economic, social and environmental pillar, because these are challenges that we must overcome by walking together”.

Alfonso Rueda, President of the Xunta de Galicia: “Our commitment from the Xunta is to reduce bureaucracy to facilitate the economic life and efforts of the sector, which should not run up against unrealistic standards or goals. In addition, the need for skilled labour is widespread in the sector, so we are committed to supporting training, such as dual vocational training, to adjust the supply to the real demand of companies. Likewise, in terms of infrastructures, we are committed to establishing those that correspond to us at regional level, but also to claiming those that should be undertaken by the central government, because it is necessary to redistribute European funds to reach the entire associative fabric, as promised”.

Finally, Rueda highlighted the potential of offshore wind power:

We have to give it normality, institutionalise it, we have to talk to everyone and not allow “not here” positions, when, if it is done rationally and respecting the environment and other activities, we can promote thousands of jobs. We have to be the European hub of reference in offshore wind energy.

Key messages

The session on shipbuilding and ship repair addressed shipyard capacities and the importance of the value chain.

Adolfo Navarro, Sales and Business Development of Grupo Armón: “We look to the future with optimism, this is a strategic sector, capital-intensive and employment-generating, and it supports other key sectors such as fishing, tourism, logistics and defence. It is true that decarbonisation generates uncertainty, but it can have a dynamising effect on the renewal of the fleet. In addition, in Galicia we have an added value which is our excellent auxiliary industry, and there is no good shipyard if there are no good suppliers around”.

Carlos González, head of sales at Damen Shipyards: “The trends in the sector are sustainability and digitalisation, automation and propulsion are going to mark the ship of the future and for this we must work from operational excellence and the training of our professionals”.

Renato Afonso, Purchasing and Logistics Coordinator at West Sea Viana, also emphasised the pressing lack of qualified professionals throughout Europe and stressed that new propulsions will be fundamental in the medium term, “there is not going to be a single solution, we are moving towards a combination of fuels such as hydrogen, methanol and electric”.

On the more international side, Julius Küchle, Project leader and associate researcher at the Fraunhofer Center for Logistics and Maritime Services in Hannover (Germany), gave a keynote speech on the impact of autonomous shipping, which “offers huge cost reductions for shipowners, but poses a challenge for SMEs and ancillary industry, which must adapt to remain competitive”.

In the shipowners’ panel, leading companies presented their views on trends and opportunities for the industry in the current scenario.

Roque Serrano, Fleet Technical Director of Armadora Pereira, emphasized the challenge of decarbonization: “The issue is not only to make ships with sustainable propulsion, the challenge is also the access to replenish these renewable fuels. For fishing fleets this is still a chimera, especially those operating in seas such as the South Atlantic or parts of Africa, where such access is impossible today”.

José Manuel Blanco, Industrial and Fleet Operations Director of Tri Marine Group: “We must work on new materials and more sustainable designs, for example for the reduction of plastics, where 87% of our materials are already biodegradable”.

Trends in propulsion systems towards decarbonisation and digitalisation as a key tool for maintaining the competitiveness of the sector were also discussed.

Roberto Cabeceira, Area Director of Aitodetec, stressed that “the sector is receptive to technology, but there is still a general lack of knowledge about the improvements it can bring, for example in metric digitisation and re-engineering”.

Óscar Viéitez, CEO of Marinsa explained that emission reductions can be achieved through route optimisation (up to 20% reduction), hydrodynamics (15%), machinery (up to 20%) and, of course, fuels, where emission reductions can reach 100%, but are still a challenge in many cases”.

There was also time to talk about business avenues and diversification.
Captain Amadeu Albuquerque, Mystic Cruises’ Director of Nautical Operations: “In the cruise segment, navigation technology must be state-of-the-art and the use of AI equipment can greatly help crews to follow all the regulations in force, which are sometimes complex”.

José Ramón Regueira, Commercial Director of Nodosa Shipyard: “In addition to shipbuilding, repair is also a very important vector for Galicia. We carry out conversions, extensions, re-motorisations… major modernisations of great complexity”.

Juan Puente, head of subcontracting structures at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, also emphasised this aspect, highlighting the “evolution from fishing boats to new lines of business that are gaining more and more weight in international shipyards, such as large cruise ships, military vessels and offshore wind power”.

Maritime Trends also addressed the topic of offshore wind power, one of the booming business areas for the shipbuilding industry, due to the interrelation that exists with its value chain.

Raúl Martín, Head of Offshore Wind and New Technologies at Greenalia presented the GOFIO project being developed in Gran Canaria “This will be the first pre-commercial offshore wind farm in Spain. It is the only project outside of pilots and experimentation that is currently in the pipeline, it does not need to wait for an auction or regulatory calendar, we are going to start up a wind farm in Spanish waters with a total of 50MGW”.

Manuel Fernandez, Project Director at Ocean Winds, explained how the sector is evolving: “We currently have a total of 17GW of offshore wind farms in operation with an investment of 50,000 million euros. These are farms in operation, under construction or under development for the next 10 years and one third of them are already floating wind farms. However, most of these projects are in the USA and the UK, which are the leading countries in the regulation of this energy; we already have one underway off the coast of Portugal, but the challenge now is to speed up these investments here in Spain as well”.

Álvaro Platero, Project Coordinator of Astilleros Gondán complemented the debate with his vision as a shipyard: “Traditionally we started with fishing vessels, but we have been adapting to what has been coming and today we are proud to be able to show ships as diverse as offshore wind power, where Galicia has already positioned itself as an international reference”.

Finally, the thematic sessions closed with a panel on defence and security, with exceptional speakers.

Miguel Salom, Colonel of the Coastal and Maritime Police Headquarters of the Guardia Civil, explained that they are a historical client for the Spanish naval industry, with great demands due to the peculiarities to which the ships must respond in coastal security, but which also place them at the forefront. In this sense, he highlighted the new vessel contracted by the Civil Guard to the Armón shipyard which, with 82 metres in length, will be the largest of the corps to date”.

Raúl Rico, Production Manager of Navantia Ferrol Shipyard, commented that the shipyard employs 1,300 people, 2,000 with auxiliary industry and a total of 9,000 direct and indirect jobs. “In the last 30 years, defence has been a key vector for Navantia. We have produced for them large ships, amphibious aircraft carriers, destroyers, logistic ships… and now 5 f110 frigates, which are a Spanish project with the participation of many national companies and which allow us to face the future with very good prospects”.

Captain Francisco Antón, Deputy Director of Engineering of the Spanish Navy, emphasised that “in the Navy we pursue technological superiority and the avant-garde in our ships, but we have great challenges ahead of us. One of them is to speed up the timescales, as it normally takes 15 years from the time a defence system begins to be defined until it is produced. This puts equipment at risk of becoming obsolete or unable to respond to the threats in place at the time. Also, at the technological level, the key pillar, as we already integrate in the F-110 frigates, must be the digital twin, which provides operational and logistical support for decision making.