INDO Pacific returns in 2022


For the first time since 2019, the INDO PACIFIC 2022 International Maritime Exposition will bring together Australian and International industry, government, defence and academia to explore the sector’s biggest issues, innovations and technologies. Manufacturers’ Monthly talks to event organisers about what to expect from the event.

When the world was in the depths of the pandemic, there were those who wondered if we would ever get back to doing business face to face.

Indeed several commentators, dazzled by the sudden explosion of on-line meetings and virtual events, predicted that by the time COVID was under control business would be so comfortable with online engagement that in-person events would wither on the vine.

Industry evidently strongly disagrees, as shown by the fact that exhibition floor bookings for the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition, set for 10-12 May in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, have already surpassed the record-breaking pre-Covid 2019 event.

Indo Pacific is Australia’s global maritime business event, attracting senior merchant marine, shore services, maritime and defence industry, military and government decision-makers from around the world.

It combines a three-day conference program with an industry exhibition and networking and engagement opportunities that bring the civil and defence maritime communities together to discuss topics affecting the industry today and promote industry capability.

In 2019 the exposition, then called “Pacific”, hosted more than 650 participating exhibitor companies from 22 nations. It attracted more than 21,000 attendances across three days, including 182 industry, defence, government and scientific delegations from 48 countries.

Indo Pacific 2022 is on track to surpass those numbers, partly because the Royal Australian Navy is in the midst of the largest peacetime acquisition phase in its history, and needs to talk about what it needs, why and when, through the Chief of Navy’s own Sea Power Conference and formal industry engagement programs.

But the other half of the equation is an industry no longer constrained by Covid related travel and engagement restrictions, an industry enthusiastic about once again being able to use the most effective marketing tool in history; being face to face with your marketplace.

The sheer size of Indo Pacific is often an eye-opener for first timers; the industry exhibition would go close to covering the Melbourne Cricket Ground. And so is the hum. A sea of people, whose first goal is engagement with others, creates a palpable three-day background hum of conversation.

The sheer size of Indo Pacific is often an eye-opener for first timers; the industry exhibition would go close to covering the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

For three days Sydney’s International Convention Centre is a microcosm of the maritime community, defence and commercial. In the exhibition halls, conference rooms and networking functions, it is possible to bump in to anyone from Australia’s chief of Navy Australia to federal ministers, visiting overseas naval personnel, prime contractors, small to medium enterprise and start-ups.

Major conferences for the 2022 event will include the Royal Australian Navy’s own Sea Power Conference, the Autonomy In The Maritime Domain conference from the Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems, and the International Maritime Conference, a joint venture between The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and Engineers Australia.

The event is a mix of defence and commercial; in many areas, issues of equipment, technology and development are similar for both civil and defence vessels and shipbuilding.

Conference topics will include environmental issues and developments – alternative fuels, ship design, new maritime technologies and post-Covid recovery of the international shipping industry.

It is also a focus for the commercial and merchant marine: specialists in port operations, marine engineering, cargo handling, tug and pilotage operations, spillage and pollution clean-up, marine safety and their equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Their market is universal – commercial operators as well as navies need their services.

Academic institutions, private industry and government agencies add to the program with events detailing naval insights from allied nations, export advice for small business, innovation and research, new technologies for vessel maintenance and repair, virtual shipyards, sustainment of Australia’s new Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels and the future of defence workforce simulation.

The Convenor of Indo Pacific 2022 is former Royal Australian Navy chief of Navy, vice admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN (Rtd), a veteran of five previous Indo Pacific events.

“Indo Pacific is essentially unique in bringing the bulk of the maritime community together in an environment that is specifically designed to promote engagement,” said vice admiral Barrett. “There’s really nothing quite like it”.

“Every industry, every community, seeks an opportunity to engage, to promote to the decision-makers, to gain information that will help them position themselves and their products for success as prime contractors or members of a supply chain. Indo Pacific is designed to be that engagement platform.

“Government agencies see Indo Pacific as a platform for publicising their assistance to industry and promoting engagement to tailor their services.

“Defence and Navy also seek opportunities to promote their needs, issues and views to the community, and to engage with industry to identify capability that will help Navy achieve its goals. This doesn’t just mean platforms and equipment: Navy has used previous Indo Pacific events to discuss workforce development, engage with regional nations on security issues and conduct bilateral meetings with our various defence partners.”

Conference topics will include Environmental issues and developments.

Indo Pacific a platform for innovation

Through formal Innovation Awards and “pitchfest” programs, every Indo Pacific exposition is designed to inspire, to promote and to highlight Australian innovation in all its forms.

The Australian government’s 2016 Defence White Paper was a watershed for Australia’s defence industry. It enshrined industry as a Fundamental Input to Defence Capability and devoted nearly $1.5 billion to promoting and funding the innovation and R&D that underpin real growth in both industry capability and exports.

Indo Pacific organiser AMDA Foundation recognised this linkage between innovation and industry growth years earlier, presenting its first Innovation Awards in 2013.

Since then, more than 260 entries have been received for the Awards and AMDA Foundation has awarded SME Innovation Grants and Young Innovator Awards to a total value of around $450,000 at the Indo-Pacific International Maritime Exposition and at its sister events, the Land Forces International Land Defence Exposition and the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition.

Past maritime winners have included a research organisation that invented a new rust‐proofing treatment for Navy warships and submarines, an SME which developed a world‐leading portfolio of counter‐drone technologies in just 12 months and a team of young innovators who developed a sonar sensor management system for the Navy’s new Hunter‐class frigates.

“The awards reflect our mission, which is to promote the development of aviation and Australia’s industrial, manufacturing and information/communications technology resources in the fields of aviation, aerospace, maritime, defence and security,” said Ian Honnery, CEO of the national not‐for‐profit AMDA Foundation which organises the biennial Indo Pacific Exposition.

“Since we first launched the Awards in 2012 we have presented around $450,000 in SME and Young Innovator Awards to encourage and reward excellence by our small companies and emerging engineers and scientists.”

“Industry’s ability to deliver on behalf of Defence and the ADF is underpinned by its ability to innovate and bring to the market new defence products and services. That’s what our Awards seek to encourage,” Honnery said.

The Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition will be held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, 10-12 May 2022.

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