Norwegian Trade Fairs appoints Birgit Liodden as new Director of Nor-Shipping

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Nor ladyNorwegian Trade Fairs has unveiled Birgit Liodden as the new Director of Nor-Shipping, Norway’s leading maritime event week.

Ms Liodden, a well-respected and familiar face within international shipping circles, will assume the role prior to this year’s Nor-Shipping, taking place from 2nd to 5th June.

The move caps a stellar rise through the industry for Ms Liodden, still just 32 years old. Her CV boasts tenures at Wilh. Wilhelmsen, external consultancy for OECD and SeaTrucks Nigeria, and numerous board level positions for, amongst others, Maritime Forum Oslofjord and the Norwegian Sea Rescue Academy. She was awarded the WISTA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) Leadership Award in 2012 for her efforts to promote and challenge the maritime industry.

However, it’s for her pivotal role within YoungShip, the organisation for young shipping professionals, that Ms Liodden is arguably best known.

After assuming the position of President of YoungShip Norway between 2009 and 2011, she founded YoungShip International in 2011, becoming its first Secretary General. The organisation has since grown to include 18 chapters, in 12 countries, boasting close to 4000 members.

She describes the new move to Nor-Shipping, an internationally renowned programed of activities that attracted around 50,000 visitors, across 240 events, in 2013, as “an incredible opportunity.”

“Nor-Shipping is a landmark biennial event on the international shipping calendar,” said Ms Liodden.

“From the main exhibition halls in Lillestrøm to the Ocean Talent Camp in Oslo city centre, it has a unique blend of activities that attracts a wide, multi-national and high quality audience.

She continued: “I believe it has a role at the very vanguard of shipping, with the power to engage, inspire and challenge the industry and its key players.

“From the outset I’ll be looking to cement the links between this event and the businesses and people it represents – building visibility, closer partnerships and relationships, and increasing the industry influence of Nor-Shipping, both in Norway and around the world.”

Nor-Shipping is owned and operated by the non-profit foundation Norwegian Trade Fairs, Norway’s leading national trade fair organisation and the owner of the country’s largest meeting venue, the 39,000m2 exhibition hall in Lillestrøm. It is headed by CEO Siv Lunde Kolrud, who believes Ms Liodden’s compelling combination of energy and experience can bring something new to an event that celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015.

“Birgit first worked alongside us at Nor-Shipping 2011, when, through her consultancy company Liodden Projects, she took part in organising the Ocean Talent Camp initiative,” said Ms Kolrud. “Her engagement with our internal team, the industry and the young people that flocked to the ‘camp’ was immediately obvious – she has a passion, drive and commitment to achieving results that left a vivid and lasting impression.

“The Director role is high profile and demanding, but her network within the industry and track record is second to none. We believe Birgit will be an excellent ambassador, facilitator and motivator for the brand and the team here. We’re delighted to have her on board.”

Ms Kolrud continued: “We’d also like to take the opportunity to thank our current Nor-Shipping Director Vidar Pederstad for all his hard work and achievements over the past years. Nor-Shipping 2015 is fully organised and delivered by him and his team. We wish him every success in his new role as Managing Director of the Maritime and Offshore Forum Oslofjord region, and look forward to continuing the relationship through the cooperation of the two organisations.”

Ms Liodden will now work alongside Pederstad ahead of Nor-Shipping 2015, taking over the full time running of future events after its completion.

She says she is keen to use the gravity of the new position to address issues that are not only close to her heart, but also integral to the future success of the shipping industry. Sustainable shipping, she believes, is key.

“From my very first discussions with Norwegian Trade Fairs I’ve stated my belief that Nor-Shipping needs to focus on sustainability,” she notes. “Not just in terms of green technology, but also with respect to greater diversity – of gender, age and cultural backgrounds.

“For shipping to prosper in the future it needs to be inclusive and forward thinking; encouraging fresh talent, innovation and new revenue streams. Nor-Shipping is the perfect platform to promote these issues, affect positive change and add value to the industry.

“I believe we can make a real difference,” she concludes, “and I can’t wait to get started.”