Asia’s Leading Maritime Gathering Opens with Sparkling Ceremony (Singapore)

Sea Asia, the leading maritime exhibition and conference in Singapore showcasing the international and regional maritime industries, opened today with fanfare at a packed opening ceremony in Singapore (April 12, 2011).

The show, which articulates the Voice of the Asian maritime communities, has captured the imagination of the global shipping community. It was officially opened by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Mr Teo Chee Hean.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo spoke to more than 600 senior shipping industry executives at the opening ceremony this morning.

In his opening speech, DPM Teo said: “With a concentration of major stakeholders building up in the region, the Asian shipping community must play an active role in addressing common concerns and promote sustainable long-term growth.

“A major concern is the growing demand for ship financing and other maritime services to support the industry in a more volatile economy. Many leading maritime service providers have already established offices in Asia to be in closer proximity to their customers but there is still room for them to do more here in Asia.”

He added that even as the maritime industry benefited from Asia’s growth, recent events reminded the market of the need to stay vigilant against events that could still threaten global trade.

First, global supply chains had been disrupted because of extensive damage to Japan’s industries, ports and merchant fleet during last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

“Meanwhile, we still cannot be sure how long it will be before the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant stabilises and we can begin to assess the extent of the damage to commerce, in the short-term, and confidence in the longer term.”

He added that rising prices of oil due to instability in the Middle East and North Africa had increased costs to shipping and, if it persisted, would have an adverse impact on world economic growth.

He also noted there were structural factors that further complicated the outlook for the maritime industry. He pointed to the newbuilding order book as one. “Coupled with softening demand, the supply overhang could depress shipping rates even further,” he said.

Singapore Maritime Foundation chairman, Michael Chia, added: “The economic climate we face today is much better than that in 2009, when the previous show was staged in the midst of the global economic downturn. Despite the challenging circumstances then, Sea Asia 2009 was a great success.

“Sea Asia won the Exhibition of the Year award in the Singapore Experience Awards, organised by the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore is Asia’s major International Exhibition Centre and winning this Exhibition of the Year title, provides a resounding endorsement for Sea Asia.”

Sea Asia, which is co-organised by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, has established itself as the leading international maritime show for Asia since it was launched in 2007.

Christopher Hayman, Chairman of organisers Seatrade, said the themes at this year’s Sea Asia were particularly relevant to the industry. “A clutch of new challenges now face the industry, including rising fuel prices, a tighter regulatory framework and of course the shadow which international piracy, especially in the Gulf of Aden, is casting over the world’s shipowners and their crews. I am sure there will be much discussion about these topics as the show progresses,” he said.

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend Sea Asia, which occupies 13,600 sq m of gross space at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. It has more than 6,200 sq m of net used space in an exhibition booked by 340 maritime and shipping businesses from 40 countries. There are seven country pavilions from China, Japan, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Turkey and the UK.

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Source: sea-asia, April 12, 2011

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