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150 U.S. companies will be selling at METS

The big Amsterdam trade show expects to draw 1,200 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees

Despite uncertain economic times, U.S. marine companies will be well represented at the upcoming Marine Equipment Trade Show, which takes place Nov. 18-20 in Amsterdam.

METS, the largest show of its kind, features national pavilions for more than a dozen countries, including the United States. It also offers a marina pavilion, a composite pavilion and a superyacht pavilion.

The U.S.A. Pavilion is organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and will feature 80 American companies, says Janice Ilg, project manager with the NMMA. Next year, when the show expands, there should be more space to add companies to the pavilion.

“I have the longest wait list I’ve ever had,” says Ilg, noting she has 10 companies waiting to get into the pavilion, instead of the usual four or five.

“If a buyer is looking for an American-made product, it makes sense to look in the U.S.A. Pavilion, because there’s a high concentration of U.S. brands there. It’s not the only place to find U.S. companies, because there are about 130 NMMA members and about 150 total American companies at METS, but the highest concentration is within the U.S.A. Pavilion,” she says.

“Our pavilion is always heavily visited,” Ilg says. One benefit of being in the pavilion, she says, is that the NMMA handles all of the details for exhibiting companies.

More than 1,200 exhibitors in total are expected to be on hand for the show, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary. Attendance should approach 20,000, with people coming to the show from more than 100 countries.

Last year, the show attracted 1,137 exhibitors from 39 countries, and 19,764 attendees. That was up from 16,805 attendees in 2006, organizers said.

“We’re anticipating another vibrant, product-packed METS for 2008, but also look forward to the newly built hall for 2009, named RAI Elicium,” says product manager Irene Dros. “It’s always a difficult balancing act trying to accommodate everyone’s requests, and hopefully the extra space next year will make life easier for everyone.”

In addition to the vast number of exhibitors, one of the most anticipated events is the presentation of the Design Awards METS, or DAME. This year, all product registration fees will be donated to the International Association of Disabled Sailing.

Also new in this year’s awards program is the recognition of the most eco-friendly or environmentally sustainable product.

“What better way to encourage boating than to help a charity promote sailing to people around the world who may otherwise be unable to take part,” Dros says. “And what better new certificate to introduce for the DAME than one that highlights our universal concern with the environment.”
DAME awards will be presented Nov. 18. Hugo Maurstad, a partner in Altor Equity Partners, will be the keynote speaker at the program.

METS is organized by Amsterdam REI, in association with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations.

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This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue.


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