SMM, the world’s largest shipping exhibition, shifts dates to February next year

SMM, the world’s largest shipping exhibition, has been forced to reschedule its event from this September to February 2 to 5 next year, becoming the latest in a long list of maritime shows brought down by the coronavirus.

“The continued highly dynamic development of Covid-19 and the resulting ban on major events have left us no other choice but to postpone SMM to next year. Finding a suitable new timeframe for SMM was not an easy task for us, and we are happy we have been able to do so,” said Bernd Aufderheide, president and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress today.

Originally SMM was to take place from September 8 to 11. The switch of date comes after rival Posidonia moved its dates in Athens from June to the final week of October this year.

“We will offer the global maritime community an extraordinary, more compact SMM in February 2021. Together we will overcome this crisis and host an SMM that will live up to its own, high standards. We are looking forward to welcoming everybody back,” Aufderheide said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Like many others I’ve been wondering when this announcement would come or whether they would simply cancel and wait until 2022.

    After so many years of the Nor-Shipping – Marintec – Posidonia – Sea Asia – SMM cycle you’ve got to wonder what this move will mean for Nor Shipping in particular, will exhibitors absorb the costs of 2 massively expensive European shows in the space of 6 months? Will there even be 50% of the visitor attendance we’ve seen in recent years as individuals for personal reasons and companies for financial ones limit their travel? Add to that the fact that every other 2020 conference and local event will be shifting to Q1 2021 to compete for the same audience.

    With most of the world set to enter recession I can’t see the maritime divisions of the oil majors or big manufacturers getting approval for the kind of exhibition expenditure they’ve always had. If visitor numbers drop off significantly that’s going to cause every marketing director to re-evaluate their priorities and the Fear of Missing Out motivation might start to dwindle too.

    Rightly or wrongly I can’t see there being a huge desire for people to have a look at the Chinese pavilion at SMM, never mind hop on a red-eye to Shanghai next December.

    I could be wrong and after months of isolation everyone in the industry will embrace any and all opportunities to get out and network once again!

    The curse of interesting times.

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