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Digitalisation is the way forward for German maritime industry

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Digitalisation will be necessary for German maritime and port equipment suppliers to achieve the business and environmental targets in the future, according to the Marine Equipment and Systems in the Mechanical Industry Engineering Association (VDMA).

According to a statement from the Port of Hamburg, Klaus Deleroi, Deputy Chairman of VDMA, said the association “expects to see a “rapid technical modernization of the global fleet” which would be “essential for achieving the climate targets that have been set”.

Digitalisation is one of many themes examined in Port Technology International’s webinar series, including the end-to-end supply chain and automation

The comments come after the VDMA examined the German maritime equipment market, which it said had performed well in 2019 but that the near-future was too uncertain to accurately predict.

Sales increased by 4.5%, with a 3.4% jump in orders, and the VDMA says the industry has coped well so far and is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However an increasing reluctance from customers to buy products is a concern.

Another is a lack of supply of components needed to build the products the companies sell, but the VDMA says “digital possibilities” are the way forward.

“Thanks to the favourable order situation, we were able to increase our workforce last year. We’re generally in good shape in the sector,” states Martin Johannsmann, Chairman of VDMA – Marine Equipment and Systems and CEO of SKF GmbH.

“That paid off in the Corona crisis. We very quickly learned how to respond to the pandemic,” Johannsmann adds. Production in the industry continued with almost no hold-ups, despite occasional bottlenecks at suppliers. Orders could be completed, and international logistics is meanwhile also back on track.

“But even here new solutions are presenting themselves in some cases. Firms that invested early on in the digital possibilities offered with teleservice now have an advantage,” Johannsmann says.

“We’re currently concerned about customers’ increasing reluctance to buy items. However, we can’t make any reliable predictions in this respect and have to continue to proceed cautiously.

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