Posidonia - International Shipping Exhibition

Nearly 30 companies from seven Middle East countries are converging to Athens next month to participate at Posidonia 2008, the 21st edition of the world's biggest and most international maritime trade events.

The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia are all sending strong delegations to the Athens event focusing on ship building and repair, engineering and port services in the region's bid to highlight its growing industry potential in Greece, the world's biggest maritime nation.

Greece controls the world's biggest newbuilding orderbook, currently standing at 1,054 vessels of some 75 million dwt. Greek shipowners have already committed some US$ 50 billion in various fleet renewal projects, according to Nana Michael, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A. the exhibition's organisers.

With over US$ 50 billion in committed investments for the renewal of Greek-owned fleet announced in 2007, double the amount invested in the previous year, and two-digit annual sustainable growth rates in a region that holds almost half of the world's population, the global ship building industry, equipment suppliers, other vertical sectors and the second-hand ship market are all turning their radars to the biennial event slated to be the biggest in its 40 year-old history.

Dubai Maritime City, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, Drydocks World Dubai, Sharjah Ports, NICO International and the GMMOS Group of companies are just some of the UAE's major shipping companies participating at the five day event to be held from 2-6 June at the Hellenic Exhibition Centre (HEC).

The potential opening of Greece's biggest ports to foreign investors has also enticed the interest of major Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arab funds competing for a stake and management access of Piraeus' lucrative container transshipment hub strategically situated at the crossroads of three continents.

According to Neil Corbasson, New Business Development Director of Jebel Ali based GMMOS Group, which will be represented at Posidonia 2008 through its ship building and repair arms Grandweld and gmmostech, the Middle East's shipbuilding sector stands to gain a lot from an apparent order backlog in Asia's major shipping yards.

"Currently, availability in Asian berths is scarce and the majority of the orderbook is slated for delivery post 2010, but this doesn't mean that newbuilding orders will wane. Strong global economic indicators are fueling further demand for newbuilds and the region's sector is eager to attract a slice of this lucrative global market, " said Corbasson.

Posidonia 2008 is sponsored by the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, The Aegean and Island Policy, the Municipality of Piraeus, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, the Mediterranean Cargo Vessels Shipowners Union, the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies and the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies.

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