Many references were made to the global downturn in marine industry business activity during the APM 2016 Singapore marine show. However, it was all good news for Solar Solve Marine when the 3 directors returned to their South Shields base after a very successful exhibition and with orders from 2 visitors to their stand.
The very low price of oil combined with the continuing significant downturn in the Chinese economy is having a devastating effect on many businesses involved with maritime trade. So much so that both main speakers at APM’s Opening Ceremony referred to it at length. Mr Lucien Wong, chairman of the Maritime Port Authority Singapore, expects the slowdown to continue for the next few years. He was reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill during the dark days of the Second World War when he said, “If you’re walking through hell, keep walking”
These sentiments were certainly reflected in conversations with other exhibitors, some of whom could not remember a worse situation in over 25 years. The exhibition occupied 21,000sqm of floor space, spanning 6 exhibition halls at Marina Bay Sands and consisted of 1,500 international marine related companies from over 60 countries including 17 country pavilions. Solar Solve were part of the British Pavilion, which was well represented and well organised by the British Marine Equipment Association and were very happy with their share of the expected 15,000 industry professionals mainly from Asia.
Company chairman John Lightfoot commented, “As is normal we had both quiet periods and very busy ones but overall there were well over 50 visitors, from 9 different countries, who showed genuine interest in what we have to offer. They were mainly from Singapore with others from 6 Asian countries, India and Australia and many of them were already well aware of our SOLASOLV and ROLASOLV brands.”
“The orders we received were from customers who we have supplied for over 20 years. A Hong Kong shipbuilder and one of our Singapore Distributors who appreciate our product brands and service as being the very best.”
Whilst the manually operated SOLASAFE screen is still the company’s most popular product, this year there was a lot more interest shown in electrically operated products and particularly in the new SELFPOWA, a battery operated roller screen or blind that is kept fully charged via a solar cell and needs no wiring during installation.
A selection of products from the ROLASOLV range of Type Approved roller blinds for marine locations was also on display with many visitors requesting more information. The latest legislation is forcing shipowners to move away from uncertified and unsuitable local roller blinds and towards specially designed and developed products for marine use like ROLASOLV, which is Type Approved by DNV-GL.
Julie Lightfoot, Solar Solve’s Managing Director concludes, “We cannot ignore the fact that things are not nearly as good as they have been in the past but our company has overcome quite a few recessions in our 40 years of trading and this one will be no different.”
“We are buoyed by the positive comments we always receive regarding Solar Solve Marine’s products and service. Being the No.1 Brand is a significant advantage and supplying every type of vessel, as well as offshore platforms, cranes and Air Traffic Control towers also means we are diversified enough to be able to survive.”
“The attendance at APM 2016 has made us acutely aware of the current trading situation in our industry and the visitors to our stand have given us all the confidence that we need to move forward with a very positive attitude for the future.”
Top Image – Julie, John and Lilian Lightfoot, the 3 directors of Solar Solve Marine take time out for a photo during a busy day at APM 2016 in Singapore.
Right Image – John Lightfoot with Chalson Manor of Hockseng Marine, Singapore who had brought the Chairman some good news of an order he had placed.