The Maritime Alliance (TMA) launched the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative (www.bluetechexports.org) in 2017 to help small-medium sized BlueTech companies enter new markets and develop international partnerships through key trade shows and trade missions. In its first year, TMA leveraged $50,741 of U.S. government funding with participant fees and in-kind contributions to help 17 companies generate over $650,000 in export sales and 19 new agreements with international partners in 2017. On a forward-looking basis, the 17 companies reported anticipated exports of $4.7 million in 2018 because of the export program.
Launched with a $297,000 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) grant from the International Trade Administration (ITA) – part of the U.S. Department of Commerce – this is the first-ever Maritime Technology Export Initiative for the United States, which is supported by a global marine technology team within the U.S. Commercial Service. Small to medium sized maritime technology companies are selected through a competitive application process coordinated by TMA annually to participate in key trade shows and trade missions.
“The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative gives small companies an opportunity to meet international partners, enter new markets and grow their export business, which could otherwise take years to develop. We’re pleased to be collaborating with the International Trade Administration in growing U.S. exports and creating good paying Blue Jobs in the U.S.,” said Greg Murphy, Executive Director of TMA.
“TMA and ITA exceeded my expectations with the USMTEI. We had a packed schedule before, at, and after Ocean Business meeting with companies and organizations in our industry. You would be hard pressed to find another way to open as many doors in such a short amount of time,” said Mark Gundersen, President & CEO of Marine Advanced Research, Inc. who participated in Ocean Business 2017 and the BlueTech Trade Mission in 2017.
Michael Jones, President of The Maritime Alliance, highlights the importance of international collaboration, saying, “We helped launch the BlueTech Cluster Alliance in January 2017 that includes 9 clusters from 7 countries with the goal of helping each other’s cluster members. These cluster-cluster partnerships are fundamental to promoting innovation and collaboration in the Blue Economy and creating a global ecosystem that helps companies grow.”
Participating companies exhibited in the TMA BlueTech pavilion at Oceanology International North America, which premiered in San Diego in February 2017 and will return to the San Diego Convention Center in February 2019 as Oceanology International Americas.
Companies also exhibited at the TMA BlueTech pavilion at Ocean Business in Southampton, UK in April 2017, which was followed by a U.S. BlueTech Trade Mission to Copenhagen, Hamburg and Rotterdam. The program included pre-program training seminars, exhibition space, media visibility, B2B matching, networking receptions, site visits, company presentations, and live in-water demonstrations. The U.S. Commercial Service and TMA continue to support companies with follow-up discussions, introductions, and strategic guidance.
There is growing recognition of the importance of BlueTech industries globally as governments, industries, and academic research institutes seek to balance conservation and promote sustainable usage of the ocean. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its first-ever report in 2016 on The Ocean Economy in 2030, which estimated that the global value of ocean related industries was $1.5 trillion in 2010 and growing to $3.0 trillion by 2030 on a business-as-usual basis, with BlueTech industries driving significant growth.
With the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative, American companies are in a good position to export their solutions and help drive sustainable growth in the Blue Economy.