Canadians Benefit from Being at METS

Marine accessories and equipment manufacturers from around the world shared an upbeat attitude at the 2009 Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), held at the Amsterdam RAI in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from November 17 to 19.

The show organizer reports more than 18,000 visitors to the 2009 show, which is roughly on par with 2008 attendance. A total of 51 more companies showed their wares at the event, bringing the number of exhibitors to 1,261. This includes a dozen Canadian firms in the Canada Pavilion.

David Martin, Nexus Product Manager for ComNav Marine, Richmond, BC, has been doing the METS show for seven years. “It was a positive show,” says Martin. “It increases our distribution network because we always manage to pick up new distributors for our various products. It seems that METS is the place to go for most international customers. It was a very good show for us, and it has been worth the investment to do it. METS is designed primarily for the industry, and as a manufacturer and distributor, it allows us to display our products to a world-wide audience.”

A number of the Canadians exhibiting in Amsterdam have been participating in the METS show for decades, and cite exposure to key European buyers as the show's key attribute. “We've been coming to METS since its beginning,” said Jason Mitchell, International Sales Manager for Canada Metal Pacific Global Ltd., Delta, BC. “We manufacture in China and ship directly to our markets in Europe, so the global market is very important to us as we have a large international customer base. We tend to bring out new products every year, so it's very important to get out to METS and have the opportunity to meet potential buyers. We are now a supplier of chain product, and that's new for us. It's a market we're looking at building as strongly as possible throughout Europe, and it has been a huge opportunity for us to display all of that at the METS show.”

Jack Kobelt, President of Kobelt Manufacturing Company Ltd., Surrey, BC, is another long-time METS exhibitor who was pleased with the 2009 show. “We've been exhibiting in Europe for the last 35 years,” says Kobelt. “You have to have a good product before you try to sell in Europe. It's got to be a product accepted by the consumer and it has to be reliable. You need to spread your business all over the world, otherwise you're not going to stay.”

“METS is the way to get into the market in Europe. It's definitely opened a new markets for us,” agreed Paul Fry, of Con-o-Lift by Kropf Industrial Inc., Parry Sound, ON. “It takes a while to build trust. They want to see you there for a while first. If you want to take the time, and it is an investment to do it, there is a good opportunity. You won't do well the first year, but after you've established yourself, people will approach you and know who you are. The people who attend are in the marine industry and they're there to buy. International sales, not including America, now represent approximately five percent of our business and we're trying to make that even bigger.”

The 2010 Marine Equipment Trade Show is scheduled to run at the Amsterdam RAI from November 16 to 18.