In an open stream at SMM Digital on Wednesday, Martin Johannsmann, ceo of SKF GmbH, Schweinfurt and chairman of the board of German marine equipment suppliers association - VDMA Marine Equipment and Systems, was generally upbeat about the sector despite the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic had presented in 2020.
Looking into 2021 the biggest risk is that of financial stress to companies.
“In the short term we need to be very careful in our industry of suppliers or customers about problems,. Companies may face insolvency even, until we normalise this one of the biggest risks, and we all need to be careful, because we are not in an easy situation there,” Johannsmann said.
Looking further ahead the drive to reduce emissions and for environmentally friendly shipping is where he sees opportunities.
“In the mid-and-long term we see a lot of investments going now into green shipping, environmentally friendly shipping. This digital part but it is not driving business as such. This is true for SKF and quite a number of our partner companies.”
Moderator Hauke Schlegel, managing director, Marine Equipment and Systems Section, VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association), said they saw the same trends in the association.
Johannsmann also sees opportunities in the use of hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel. “For the industry I see hydrogen to use power to x, so green energy to produce a fluid that can then be used power the engine of ships, this also has huge potential.”