METS opens Tuesday with sustainability focus

Sustainability is the theme of this year’s Marine Equipment Trade Show at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam.

Sustainability is the theme of this year’s Marine Equipment Trade Show at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, where an estimated 1,380-plus exhibitors will gather Tuesday to showcase new products and innovations in and around the industry.

The theme of sustainability will be integrated throughout the show, marketing and communications manager Sigrid van der Wel says.

“With an estimated 6 million recreational craft in Europe alone, the yachting industry faces economic and environmental challenges,” she told Trade Only Today. “Large numbers of these yachts were mass-produced from long-life composite construction materials and are currently at the end of their life cycle.”

A study by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations showed that historically disposal methods have been crude and generally involve chopping up composite structures into fragments for landfill.

To address the issues in dismantling and recycling boats in an environmentally sensitive way, RAI Amsterdam is holding the first “Future Yacht Recycling” conference today.

The USA pavilion will be its largest ever, with more than 80 National Marine Manufacturers Association member companies participating. The NMMA USA pavilion will be the fourth-largest country pavilion at the event. METS attracts thousands of international marine professionals annually.

“We got to the point this year where demand outweighed supply. We had to turn some companies away from the USA pavilion, and I believe they went on their own,” many choosing to exhibit with their European distributors, said NMMA export director Julie Balzano.

The pavilion, which will have all-new branding this year, has a 95 percent retention rate. Only four companies opted not to return, and those companies decided to skip METS this year, Balzano said.

“I like to believe that we’ve developed a solid reputation for providing a comprehensive and effective turnkey package. We try to keep it affordable. Rates in 2015 went down slightly because we were able to leverage the stronger buying power of the dollar.”

The NMMA also will have a larger marketing presence at this year’s show, Balzano said. The branding message is: “Buy quality. Buy experience. Buy American. Navigate your way to the USA pavilion.”

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