The event takes place at a time when the ro-ro industry is experiencing encouraging trends in both passenger and freight operations. The fast growing pace in the key Baltic, Mediterranean, North Sea and cross Channel sectors continues to rise, and many ship operators have embarked on ambitious fleet renewal and expansion programmes.
Dynamic freight market
While it is the freight market that is still the more dynamic, the passenger side of the business is also picking up. The renewed optimism and increased earning power of the ro-ro industry has triggered an upturn in the level of investment in new and upgraded vessels. Orders for specialised ro-ro carriers have continued to rise and the order book for pure car/truck carrier vessels is at an all time high.
32 European ports will be showcasing their ever expanding services to the ro-ro sector alongside leading ro-ro equipment suppliers such as Finland’s MacGREGOR Group and manufacturer Wärtsilä of Sweden.
RORO 2008 exhibitor Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics recently revealed that it has placed an order for four of the largest ever ro-ro vessels each with a capacity of 133,000 cubic metres, whilst rival and RORO 2008 exhibitor Grimaldi currently has a further 19 ro-ro vessels on order. In January MacGREGOR’s RoRo division won orders for 12 pure car/truck carriers with contract values totalling over EUR 20 million. In December Wärtsilä signed a EUR 9.5 million contract with Norwegian ferry operator New Kystlink AS for an overhaul project of its “Pride of Telemark” ferry.
According to the organisers IIR Exhibitions (a division of Informa UK), RORO 2008 will be a chance for the diverse ro-ro sector to get together at a range of receptions and meetings in and around Gothenburg in May 2008. The social side of the programme will kick off with a reception hosted by the city of Gothenburg at City Hall on 20 May. Companies also holding receptions will include the Port of Gothenburg.
A high level conference
Running alongside the show will be a high level conference focusing on the environmental issues facing ro-ro operators, ports and global shipping companies. Topics covered include the environmental aspects involved in advanced ship design; developments in emission control and the use of alternative fuels; use of onshore power facilities by ships in port, greater use of inland waterways and the ongoing intermodal challenge. There will also be a guided tour of the Port of Gothenburg on the Monday before the exhibition is due to open.