With the GCC countries planning to invest US$ 15 billion for the expansion of their ports in the next five years, the global maritime industry will be looking eagerly at the Gulf Maritime and the MASTECH International Marine and Technical Conference that got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah today (12th December, 2011).
In the wake of a slowdown in debt crisis-hit Western countries, trade between GCC and emerging markets has been growing at double-digit figures, prompting GCC states to expand facilities at many of its 35 major ports.
Besides, a recent report by global analysts EC Harris which ranked the GCC as the most attractive region in the world for investment in port developments, led by mega-projects such as Khalifa Industrial Zone and Oman’s Al Duqm and Port Khorfakkan, Sharjah.
This has prompted the global maritime community to converge on Expo Centre Sharjah, which is hosting the exhibition and conference from 12 to 14 December, 2011, to assess this shift in the direction and nature of trade and the investment opportunities on offer.
The Gulf Maritime and MASTECH was opened by H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Ports Authority & Department of Sea Ports & Customs, and Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), in the presence of SCCI and Expo Centre Sharjah officials, representatives of MAST, an association of naval architects which is organizing MASTECH, and government officials and industry executives.
The exhibition is held under the patronage of Sharjah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi.
“Rising trade with the emerging markets has thrown up massive business opportunities for GCC countries, encouraging them to invest heavily in their ports to raise capacity. Most of these ports are also well placed to benefit from a gradual shift in trade routes – being ideally located between Asia and the Far East on one hand and the West, Central Europe, and Africa on the other,” said Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa.
The expected infrastructure investment to the tune of US$ 2 trillion by GCC states and the increasing focus in the manufacturing sector are also driving up cargo movements and utilisation of excess capacities.
“Gulf Maritime, along with the MASTECH International Marine and Technical Conference, will be an international platform that will showcase the emerging opportunities as well as serve as a comprehensive sourcing point for the commercial, government and the military maritime industry,” he added.
Apart from port expansion, the surge in ship movement has also given rise to demand for ship repair services, boosting business at Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Drydocks World and the newly-opened Al Jazeera Port in Ras Al Khaimah.
The UAE, located strategically on one of the world's most important shipping routes, sees a number of ships and vessels calling at its ports, which also means more demand for repair services.
For the first time, Mastech 2011, one of the world’s foremost international maritime conferences on naval architecture and shipbuilding, will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah along with Gulf Maritime.
Mastech is being organized by MAST (Middle East Alumni of Ship Technology, an association of naval architects graduated from the department of ship technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India), in association with Expo Centre Sharjah, on December 12 and 13, 2011.
MASTECH 2011 will have 15 speakers over the two days, including keynote address, techno-commercial presentations and panel debates in five sessions. “The sessions are designed to focus on next generation ship designs, shipping economics, technical innovations in maritime industry, marine heavy lift & transports and offshore oil & gas sectors ” said Mr. Rajesh Babu, President of MAST.
We expect over 300 international delegates to attend the conference and will see the presentation of 20 technical papers. The conference will focus on latest advancements in design, engineering and innovative technologies in the maritime field, he added.
The eighth edition of Gulf Maritime is featuring more than 100 brands and exhibitors from Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine and the US.
Occupying nearly 4,000 square metres of exhibition space, the display includes high-quality products such as deck machinery and other vessel equipment, docking equipment, electronics, communication and navigation systems, engine and propulsion systems, fuel and lubricants, ride control systems, sound and vibration control systems and marine interiors.
Other major exhibits range from paints and coatings, latest vessel building designs and technology, equipment for fishing, offshore support vessels, cargo ships, tankers, tugs, ferries and patrol boats, ship repair and port operations products and cargo handling services, among others.
Gulf Maritime is an initiative of Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Show is open from 10am to 6pm daily.
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For more information, please contact:
P. Ravi, Marketing Manager, Expo Centre Sharjah
Tel: 06-5991177. Mobile: 050-6269781