The 22nd edition of Posidonia 2010, an international shipping trade event, opens its doors next week on the back of renewed confidence in the state of Greek maritime affairs as outlined in a recent Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) statement.
According to UGS, Greece’s foreign exchange earnings from ocean going shipping services were substantial in 2009 amounting to $16.6b despite a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Continued new-building orders will ensure Greece maintains its global leadership position with 15 per cent of the global total tonnage while establishing its supremacy in the European Union flag fleet.
The UGS announcement came hard on the heels of the recent unveiling of Cosco Group’s strategic plans for the port of Piraeus which will go ahead despite the crisis that has hit the Greek economy. The world's fifth-largest container port operator has reiterated its commitment to the port’s commercial docks operations and has outlined its strategy to double the current workforce, meet a TEU target of 800,000 and eventually establish the port as the key European gateway for Chinese trade. And Abu Dhabi MAR’s 75 per cent stake at the Mediterranean’s largest shipyard will also provide the required capital to further expand capacity and diversify the portfolio of Hellenic Shipyards.
“COSCO and other companies that have subsequently committed investments to Greece had first been introduced to Greece through their participation to POSIDONIA as far back as 1990 and the recent participation at Posidonia of exhibitors from Saudi Arabia and the UAE has also resulted in the recent investments,” said Themis Vokos, Chairman, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., the organizer of Posidonia.
“In its 44-year history Posidonia has served as a networking forum between shipping industry professionals and has laid the foundations for thousands of business transactions that have had significant contributions to national economies and corporate bottom lines, jobs creation and growth stimulation,” he said.
“And thanks to some 10,000 international high level shipping industry executives who will visit the show, Posidonia also injects significant foreign exchange inflows directly into a large number of tourism industry SMB’s, the spinal chord of Greece’s economy. This is estimated to be a biennial windfall of around Euro 50 million spent in tourism related activities in Athens and the Aegean islands,” said Vokos.
Organizers say that Posidonia 2010 will be the biggest ever in terms of floor space, number of exhibitors and expected visitors. More than 1,850 exhibitors from 87 countries will participate in the five-day event. A sold-out space of 30,700 square metres means that the exhibition is 11.5 per cent bigger than the 2008 event, a remarkable achievement considering the global economic downturn.
Nearly 10 per cent of the total exhibition space has been allocated to Far Eastern companies, who have increased their combined Posidonia participation by 45 per cent compared to the previous edition. China’s charm offensive is driving this growth as the country will field two national pavilions besides significant presence by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the COSCO shipyard group, China Shipbuilding Industry Corp and Yiu Lian Dockyards (SHEKOU) LTD. Japan and South Korea have also beefed up their Posidonia presence with Japan Ship Exporters’ Association (JSEA) and Japan Ship-equipment Manufacturers Association (JSMEA) increasing their respective pavilions in size, a massive KOSHIPA (Korean Shipbuilders Association) pavilion and independent stands from STX Business Group, Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd, SPP Shipbuilding Co LTD, Zhejiang Province, Daishan County, Haizhou Ship Building and Repairing Co LTD.
Europe will also make its presence felt with two national pavilions from the UK, increased Dutch presence and stronger participation from the traditional seafaring nations of France, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Sino-Greek shipping relationships will also take centre stage on June 11 during the Hellenic-Chinese Business Forum 2010 organized by the Hellenic Chinese Chamber of Commerce. It will examine Hellenic-Chinese relationships in ship building, trading and ship management and cross trade and transport of raw materials to and from China. The utilization of Greek ports as transit centers will be at the core of the proceedings.
Other Posidonia 2010 events scheduled at HEC’s 100-seat seminar room include press conferences by DNV, Germanischer Lloyd, RINA, the Union of Greek Shipowners, Cargotec and others.
Gratsos, Chairman of Hellenic Chamber Shipping, in his message stated:
“Greek-owned shipping is one of the main pillars of the Greek economy and creates, directly and indirectly, plenty of jobs for the Greek economy. Greece is currently in a dire economic situation, which is the result of the domestic problems of the Greek economy, which were highlighted by the global economic crisis. Both Greek shipping and Posidonia, which have managed to succeed internationally, show us the way for future development and growth. Greece can succeed by setting clear goals and following the example of Greek shipping.”
The Posidonia week officially kicks off tomorrow Friday June 4 with the Posidonia Cup, the sailing race first introduced eight years ago and which has since evolved into a showpiece sailing calendar event. 50 companies have already confirmed their participation in this year’s Aegean regatta, which is again sponsored by Lloyd’s Register.
On Sunday, June 6, the global shipping community will have the chance to meet at the football stadium of Greek Superleague team Olympiakos for the 2nd Posidonia Shipsoccer Tournament, which will pitch 28 teams from various companies in a round robin tournament designed as a networking and socializing event.
On Monday June 7 the ribbon cutting ceremony for Posidonia 2010 will be held during the official Posidonia opening ceremony and after that, on Monday afternoon, Posidonia will open its floor for business. Posidonia 2010 concludes on Friday 11 June.
Posidonia 2010 is sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping, the Municipality of Piraeus, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, the Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association, the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies and the Union of Marine Enterprises.