Andrew Lilly, managing director of marine stainless steel specialists Stainless DownUnder NZ Ltd, reports that both the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and METS were positive for a number of NZMEG member companies.
“In the US market, there’s been a lot of change with our competitors and this has created opportunities for us,” says Lilly. “We’ve done significant product development and those efforts are being realised by our customers in the US and Europe.”
Lilly says: “Obviously East Coast residents were very concerned about Hurricane Sandy and, in terms of its impact on the show, the storm edge hit Fort Lauderdale on the first day and meant we were evacuated about 6 pm, about an hour earlier than usual and there was some damage to parts of the show. While visitor numbers were down, we felt it probably meant that the people who did attend were serious about looking for the products and services they wanted so that wasn’t necessarily a disadvantage.”
Lilly has been a member of the NZMEG boat show committee for the past three years.
“In terms of NZMEG activity at Fort Lauderdale, there were ten exhibitors, three walkers and three companies utilising the incubator package. Both shows featured a Destination New Zealand component which was well-received. At METS, our stand configuration also garnered excellent feedback. NZ Marine, with help of NZ Trade and Enterprise, created a walkway/lounge area through the middle of the back-to-back rows of NZ Street. This was fitted out with tables/chairs which provided an extremely useful thoroughfare linking all three rows of NZMEG exhibitors and meeting place for us all to utilise.
“The other highlight at METS was the visit from George Tropp, New Zealand’s ambassador to The Netherlands. I assisted Theo Lingmont, RAI manager, and NZ Trade and Enterprise’s Laura Caccia to walk him around the show, meet the New Zealand companies in superyacht pavilion and then into New Zealand Street to meet other NZMEG members. The timing of Mr Tropp’s visit meant he could share some Kiwi wine with us during our function. He showed a lot of interest in everyone’s products, took onboard suggestions from various exhibitors and said he’ll use examples of our successes in upcoming speeches to positive effect. Once again the New Zealand function at METS had a great turnout – it’s a great networking opportunity.”
Lilly says that Stainless DownUnder’s pantograph door, while not especially new, seems to be resonating with German yards in particular. “We’re getting some good headway with this product range and find these unique products offer a foot in the door, helping create a reputation for the company. We then get a chance to look at other products in those big German yards which we might be able to assist with.”