The three-day exhibition, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, is being organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
Already, over 40% of the exhibition space for the coming edition of the Gulf Maritime exhibition has been booked. It is expected that in terms of number of exhibitors and occupied exhibition, Gulf Maritime 2008 will far surpass the last edition.
Among the exhibits at the event will be the complete range of 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, marine interiors, 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.
Besides featuring a unique exhibit profile, the 2008 edition of the Gulf Maritime Exhibition will host a series of one hour each product presentation seminars and several focused forums and conferences on the sidelines. Whereas the seminar sessions will be an effective marketing tool for gathering potential clients and presenting them with new products and services, the conferences and seminars will be an avenue to introspect on the crucial issues facing the regional maritime sector.
The Gulf Maritime Exhibition has so far had five highly successful editions. The maritime sector not only perceives it as an ideal market entry vehicle for the Middle East but also considers it to be an effective networking tool, which is absolutely necessary in the face of the current highly competitive industry environment.
The regional maritime industry
is at present experiencing phenomenal growth. Currently, it generates over Dhs 3.67 billion ($1 billion) worth of business annually and is consistently expanding due to a range of factors including booming Middle Eastern economies. The growth in the sector is clearly reflected on the significant rise in volume and freight levels in the region, substantial orders of oil and LNG tankers and other vessels from Middle East-based shipping companies, and heavy investments by regional governments on expansion of their ports and other related facilities.
Among the major beneficiaries due to the growth within the regional maritime sector are the ship repair yards in Dubai and Bahrain. Dubai Drydocks and Bahrain (ASRY) are now virtually controlling all westbound tanker trade out of the Gulf.
Besides UAE and Baharain, another GCC State that is now keenly eyeing to foray in to the regional ship repair industry is Oman. The contract for the construction of the country’s first ship repair yard — the centrepiece of the new Duqm Port and Dry Dock Complex on the Wusta coast — is expected to be formalised before the end of 2007. Several international and regional heavyweights have expressed interest in the contract.
The state-owned Oman Dry-Dock Company (ODC),
with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd (DSME) as its strategic partner, is overseeing the development of the ship repair yard and dry dock at Duqm. Envisaged is a world-scale facility that will rank only second to Dubai — currently the world’s largest ship repair yard — in terms of capacity.
When operational in the year 2010, the ship repair yard will be large enough to accommodate the largest vessels in operation today. The facility will have a capacity to repair over 200 ships per year, including vessels as large as Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs). A full-fledged shipbuilding yard is also envisioned as part of the long-term development of Duqm Port.
Actual construction work is expected to commence in February 2008. Total investment in the Duqm Port and Dry Dock project is estimated at RO 421 million (RO 1.096 billion).
Container shipping is another area within the regional maritime sector that has received considerable boost in the recent past. The last few years has seen consistent growth in container ports/shipping, supporting services and sectors in the Middle East. Seaborne goods in the region grew almost 60% between 1974-2004. In 2004, whereas goods loaded in the Middle East totaled 1,083.5 million tons, unloaded goods exceeded 147.5 million tons.
In terms of container port traffic, container handling at Middle East ports grew 10.3 % in 2006 (upto Aug 2006).
handled 7.62 m TEU in 2005 compared to 6.43 m TEU in 2004. Currently, within the region, Dubai dominates in container shipping by providing 60% of its capacity. Container traffic in the Middle East is expected to grow 6% in 2008.
The growth in the Middle East Maritime sector has attracted the attention of leading maritime companies from across the world thereby further intensifying competition.
The Gulf Maritime Exhibition provides maritime companies easy access to an extremely broad category of sectors within the regional maritime industry. In fact, a very significant section of the Middle East maritime industry is dependent on the exhibition for its requirements of designing and building of vessels, equipment for fishing, offshore support vessels, cargo ships, tankers tugs, ferries, patrol boats, ship repair, port operations products, and cargo handling services among others.
The Gulf Maritime Exhibition
attracts key personnel and top decision makers from the Middle East maritime industry. Categories of visitors to the event include ship owners and operators, ship and boat builders and repairers, ship chandlers, classification society and naval architects, suppliers/manufacturers/repairers of engines and propulsion systems, marine engineers, suppliers of shipbuilding material, marine equipment and services, and electronic equipment, and government agencies from across the region.
Considering the focused visitor profile, it is not surprising that over the years the Gulf Maritime Exhibition has been attracting some of the leading marine companies from across the globe as exhibitors.
The fifth edition of the exhibition, which was held from April 16 – 18, 2007, was an overwhelming success. It hosted 103 companies from 20 countries and attracted 2,090 trade visitors from the maritime industry of 40 countries. Of the total visitors, 1,160 visitors were from the GCC States.