From 10 to 12 October 2023, the International Maritime Fair and Conferences BALTEXPO will take place in Gdańsk at AMBEREXPO. It will be the 22nd edition of Poland’s largest and oldest maritime industry event. Still, for the first time, it will be organized by the new owner of the brand – Międzynarodowe Targi Gdańskie (the MTG Gdańsk International Fair).
The new organizers of the Fair approach them with great momentum – their ambition is to create the largest event in the Baltic area.
The previous formula of the Fair – i.e., a business meeting of the shipbuilding industry – has been significantly expanded to include maritime sectors already experiencing very dynamic development or being in the process. These sectors are seaports and their operators, offshore wind energy, and – experiencing a renaissance – ship production for the needs of the Polish Navy, which until now was in the formula of a separate fair – Balt Military Expo. Start-ups, scientific and research centers, and administration representatives will also have exhibition stands.
The areas of activity of the sectors mentioned above often overlap, hence the idea of organizing a joint meeting in one place and time. The Fair organizers will create the best opportunities to present products, services, and solutions and provide an excellent atmosphere for talks and negotiations.
Association of Polish Maritime Industries FORUM OKRĘTOWE has patronized the event and actively participated in the preparations. We are discussing them with the director of the FORUM OKRETOWE, Irek Karaśkiewicz.
– Preparations for the Fair have entered the final stage. What is the situation just over a month before the start of the event?
– We are very pleased with the strong representation of the shipbuilding industry. All leading Polish shipyards will be here, and the largest and most innovative design offices, classification institutions, subcontractors, and subcontractors will also be present. This part of the Fair, intended for the shipbuilding industry, is almost filled. Few vacancies will surely find exhibitors in the next few days because some are already pre-booked.
– Why is it worth participating in this new edition of the BALTEXPO Fair? How is it different from the previous ones?
– Today’s formula for this type of event has significantly been expanded compared to years ago when they were mainly a meeting of sales representatives looking for new contracts and designers looking for new technical solutions. Today, it is a meeting place for establishing contacts by companies in a much wider range, including searching for subcontractors and partners to implement projects and – which is becoming increasingly common – for presenting job offers from HR departments for employees where there is a growing demand.
– What are the direct benefits of meetings at the Fair?
– Many Polish shipyards declare they have already filled order portfolios for the next few years. They will certainly be looking for partners to implement and expand their offer. This opens up a great opportunity for subcontractors and cooperators in all areas. Analysts predict the market will have an upward trend, and new projects will come. A wide field for cooperation opens up – including large entities – and the formula of the Fair, where you can organize an ad hoc meeting at one table, cannot be overestimated. It is also very important that they are often attended by entire management boards and directors of individual divisions in the company, with whom – due to their completed calendar of classes – it is often difficult to arrange a meeting. At the Fair, it is much simpler.
– What services will be sought after on the market in connection with the upcoming technological revolution related to the decarbonization of shipping?
– The eyes of shipowners and shipyards will be focused on design offices, from which they expect proposals for new solutions to reduce CO2 emissions from the ships. This is a great opportunity for the Polish shipbuilding industry – there are currently dozens of modern and innovative design offices in Poland. Together with shipyards, they can create new products and thus lay the foundations for a new opening for our industry. Certainly, the BALTEXPO Fair will be a place of many interesting meetings, which – I hope – will result in joint projects in the near or distant future. A special discussion panel will be devoted to this topic, where companies located in Pomerania will present their ideas and offers related to the decarbonization of shipping.
– What can start-ups offer in this area?
– Their participation is a novelty at BALTEXPO. Start-ups are crucial when it comes to innovations. And since we live in a time of breakthrough, which is the decarbonization of shipping and the intensifying arms race, new ideas go to the fertile soil. If they are well prepared, then they have a chance for quick implementation. I am very curious to see what they will present.
– Why is the demand for new personnel in the shipbuilding industry increasing? Is it possible to get an attractive job in this industry?
– The lack of staff is currently one of the biggest challenges of the shipbuilding industry. On the initiative of the FORUM OKRETOWE, the last day of the Fair will be the so-called Career Day, during which the high school and university students and accompanying teachers will have free admission. The exhibitors were asked to have HR employees present at the stand on that day and, together with other representatives of companies, to tell young people about the attractive work offered by their companies.
– Polish shipbuilding is a modern and attractive industry. I am sad to admit that his image presented by the mainstream media is strongly distorted and deviates from reality. And young people and their parents, to a large extent, get their information from these media. Therefore, modern Polish shipyards, design offices, classification institutions, subcontractors, and cooperators gathered in one place will have the opportunity to convey its true image and offer interesting, well-paid work. And they can convince young people that it is worth tying their professional life to the shipbuilding industry. This is a chance to acquire staff from companies with their exhibition stands at BALTEXPO. Those that will not have such stands – will not have such a chance. I am convinced that on that day the Fair will be visited by many young people interested in working in our industry.
More details on Career Day can be found here:
– In recent years, ship production for the needs of the Navy has been growing. Why?
– Definitely. This new, dynamically developing production sector in Poland will continue to grow intensively due to the geopolitical situation. How important it is – is evidenced by the patronage of BALTEXPO by the Ministry of National Defense and the National Security Bureau. During the Fair, interesting projects will be presented – those already implemented and those that can be implemented in the future. One of the exhibitors is, for example, the Swedish company SAAB, which is already implementing several large projects with Polish entities for our Armed Forces, including the Polish Navy. Sweden, which borders us by the Baltic Sea, is becoming one of our main partners in the field of defense, and closer cooperation is facilitated by a common understanding of the threat from the East. The field for cooperation in the shipbuilding industry is wide for Polish companies.
– So it promises to be a big meeting of the shipbuilding industry…
– The maritime economy in Poland has been experiencing extremely dynamic development in recent years. Prospects for the coming years are also very exciting, and the BALTEXPO Fair has a chance to become another strong development impulse for the maritime industry and the Pomeranian region.
– Why does the FORUM OKRETOWE care about the success of this Fair and is so intensively contributing to their organization?
– We live in times of breakthrough, which creates a unique opportunity for the Polish shipbuilding industry to return to the first league. It still has great potential for building fully equipped ships, designed from the conceptual stage by design offices in our country. For this, however, a constant inflow of educated staff is essential.
– BALTEXPO is not only a place for business meetings during which possible joint ventures are discussed, but it is also a great opportunity to change the image of the shipbuilding industry in Poland. I hope that showing its modern and optimistic side will be noticed by the mainstream media, which will help change the image of our industry. The fair is organized by a young and dynamic team, which gathered the CEO of MTG Andrzej Bojanowski. The organization of nationwide media coverage by the main TV, radio stations, and online portals is very important here. A positive image of the industry would greatly help attract young people to work in the shipbuilding industry, and this is a key issue for us now.
– How would you encourage those still hesitating to participate in BALTEXPO?
– As I mentioned, we live in a time of breakthrough. The decarbonization of shipping and the geopolitical situation that forces armaments is a huge development impulse for the Polish shipbuilding industry. Every day brings changes and opens up new opportunities for cooperation. There is no better place to talk about them than the BALTEXPO Fair. We cordially invite you all to them. Let’s meet in Gdansk and talk about business.
– Thank you!
More information is available on the BALTEXPO 2023 organizer’s webpage: