Commercial Marine Expo Goes Annual and Moves to Norfolk Waterfront

PORTLAND, MAINE – Norfolk, Virginia will be home to Commercial Marine Expo (CME) 2011, show management announced. The B2B trade show will be held at the Half Moone Cruise Ship Terminal in downtown Norfolk, June 22-23. “CME will rotate biennially between Norfolk and New Bedford, Massachusetts,” reports Ted Hugger, show director. “The 2011 show will encompass all 80,000 square-feet of both levels of the terminal building, 1,000 linear feet of deep-water docks, and approximately half of the facility’s small-boat slips.”

More than 200 companies are expected to take part in the trade-only exhibition, which will draw 3,000-4,000 commercial marine professionals to the heart of Norfolk’s working waterfront. In 2010, the show attracted participants from 30 states, six Canadian provinces, and 10 countries.

“Nauticus and the City of Norfolk are thrilled to bring this caliber of show to our facility and to the downtown Norfolk Waterfront,” said Nauticus Executive Director Hank Lynch. “This expo will not only expose marine professionals from across the mid-Atlantic region to our unique maritime location and offerings but also serve as a catalyst for business-to-business development and growth in the maritime community.”
The two-day event will feature the equipment, gear and technology vital to tug and barge operations, military, shipbuilding/repair, fire, police and harbor security, ferry, freight, pilot, port operations, and commercial fishing. “CME is unique,” Hugger explains. “It is the only in-water commercial marine show in North America. Norfolk’s Half Moone will allow our exhibitors to demonstrate products and processes inside or outside and to display and operate ships and boats from the piers and docks.”
Norfolk is the ideal location for a mid-Atlantic commercial marine show-it’s ranked #1 in U.S. shipbuilding and repair, and is home to 22% of the nation’s shipbuilding employees. Virginia ports are the 7th largest in the U.S. and Virginia is the nation’s fourth largest producer of seafood products. In addition, Norfolk is home to the world’s largest navy base: the Norfolk Naval Station, and is host to another half-dozen Navy and Coast Guard installations. The mid-Atlantic represents a robust presence in every segment including major U.S. port authorities and engineers; ship building and repair; marine engineers and architects; and owners and operators of, and service-providers to:
· Military and Coast Guard vessels
· Tug and push boats
· Commercial fishing boats
· Passenger and vehicle ferries
· Patrol, police and fire boats
· Excursion vessels
· Homeland security vessels
· Diving and salvage vessels
· Research and education vessels
· Ship building
· Ship repair
“Our move to Norfolk has struck a cord with the show’s exhibitors,” Hugger explains. The industry is excited about non-traditional locations for its trade events. They want a connection to the waterfront, a less formal setting than a traditional convention center, and the ability to display boats in-water. “Early response has been encouraging–in the first two weeks, we sold nearly 30% of the available exhibit space to leading companies including John Deere, eSonar, Cummins Atlantic, Quality Shipyards, ZF Marine, Volvo Penta, MTU Detroit Diesel, Mack Boring, NOAA, Imtra, RW Fernstrum, and Motor-Services Hugo.”
CME will be the first group to utilize the Half Moone for a traditional trade show. “The Half Moone will allow us to reduce costs to exhibitors, provide a more vibrant event, and set the stage for growth as we expand the offerings of the show,” Hugger continues. In addition to being steps away from Norfolk’s many affordable hotels and restaurants, the show shares the location with the Nauticus Maritime Museum and the famous Battleship Wisconsin.
“The reduced facility and operational costs of venues such as Norfolk and New Bedford allow us to greatly increase our attendee marketing campaign. Our goal is 1.5 million impressions through trade magazines, local media, social marketing, and targeted direct mail,” Hugger explains. “Plus, the savings pass down to our exhibitors. For example, our freight and drayage rates are the lowest in the industry, a fraction of the costs incurred in traditional convention centers. This encourages exhibitors to bring and display more equipment and products; that is exactly what buyers are looking for when they attend the show.”
Hugger adds, “Trade shows such as CME can have a profound impact on local economies.” Research compiled by the Destination Marketing Association indicates that on average, an event attendee will spend $297 per day; the impact of CME on the Norfolk economy will likely exceed $1.5 million. “We’re working closely with the Norfolk CVB to set up our room blocks, and to encourage attendees to bring spouses and families to enjoy the many attractions of Norfolk. The effects of a significant trade show like CME can be long-term, as well, as new-comers to the area often return for business and recreation,” Hugger says.
Commercial Marine Expo 2011 follows on the heels of a successful 2010 event in New Bedford on the State Pier where exhibit space sold out prior to the show. Total exhibit space at CME 2010 was up 31% over the previous event, with total number of exhibiting companies increasing 13%, and average company booth size increasing 16%.
By Professional Mariner Staff