“We turned to UKTI after we had already begun our preparations for the event and discovered we were struggling a little bit! UKTI helped guide us and point us in the right direction.”
Cathy Hodge, Director of Digital Ship and Port Finance International
The global economic recovery has had a positive impact on the shipping industry worldwide, and that was just the sort of good news that Digital Ship Ltd. needed to take the leap into the Japanese market.
And the results have been very positive, says Cathy Hodge, director of the both Digital Ship and Port Finance International Ltd., part of a publishing group that focuses on the maritime, transport and energy sectors and also organises industry conferences and exhibitions around the world.
“We have long recognised the importance of the Japanese market in our various sectors, particularly for our Digital Ship brand, which has ship owners, managers and builders as its core focus,” Hodge said.
“We discussed it for some time with our major clients – maritime technology and communications suppliers to the shipping sector – and finally made the decision in early 2013 to hold our first Digital Ship Japan event in September 2013,” she added.
The event was a success, with more than 250 people attending from around the world, including all the major companies in the Japanese shipping community.
Preparations did not go entirely according to plan, however, and Hodge called on the experts at UK Trade and Investment for some advice.
“We turned to the UKTI after we had already begun our preparations for the event and discovered we were struggling a little bit!” she said. “UKTI helped guide us and point us in the right direction – meaning our time was better spent on the ‘right’ work and we were able to progress more quickly.”
Hodge said the company was initially “nervous” about entering the Japanese market as the cultural and business differences are so different from other locations where the company operates.
“We recognised that the priority would be to find a reliable partner in the country, which is why we turned to the UKTI at the British Embassy,” she said. “We have worked with UKTI in a variety of other locations – including India, Brazil and Turkey – and always found their advice, introductions to key organisations in our sector and support to be invaluable.
“This was especially going to be true in Tokyo, where we as yet had no presence or reputation.”
The success of the 2013 event has convinced the company to go ahead with Digital Ship Japan 2014.
“We plan to increase the number of delegates and the size of the related exhibition, which showcased technologies and communications services,” Hodge said. “We are also currently investigating opportunities to launch events in other sectors in Japan.”