DUBAI- International and regional shipping operators, ports, financiers and maritime professionals will meet in Dubai at the forthcoming Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) summit and exhibition to discuss the opportunities and challenges that global fleet growth will present to the region as it steadily develops into a world-class centre of excellence for ship repair and refurbishment.
The three-day event which starts on 28 October 2014 has dedicated a panel session to ship repair, which has attracted high profile experts including Geoffrey Taylor, Managing Director, Topaz Marine Engineering, UAE and Lars Seistrop, Managing Director, Damen Shipyards Sharjah & Albwardy Marine Engineering, UAE, who will debate the issues surrounding ship repair and refurbishment.
“The Middle East is a world-class centre of excellence for ship repair with a number of well respected shipyards already offering a diverse range of services. We are seeing new joint ventures between the region and Asia in the dry dock sector, with the Gulf set to offer the largest ship repair capacity outside of China,” noted Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, organisers of Seatrade Middle East Maritime.
According to Drewry Maritime Research’s Q1 2014 report ‘Ship Operating Costs Annual Review & Forecast’, ship operators remained under pressure to keep operating costs to a minimum in 2013 due to weak freight earnings, with restrictive repairs and maintenance regimes instigated in order to counter rises in expenditure. This was supported by last year’s weak steel prices, but with new regulations and an element of catch-up in repair due, Drewry expects repair and maintenance expenditure to rise by at least 2.5-3% per annum over the next two years.
“The thorny issue of maintaining fleets for operational readiness whilst maximising commercial capacity is a constant concern for both shipyards and vessel owners, but with increased capacity in the region, the Middle East is perfectly positioned as a key geographical access point for quality repair, maintenance and refitting services,” said Hayman.
According to 2013 data, Drewry Maritime Research expects global container port demand to grow by just over 5% per annum through to 2017, exceeding 800 million TEUs per year; and this expected growth is more than the entire 2012 throughput of North America, Europe and the Middle East combined.
This and other sector drivers, such as the expansion of offshore projects and the implementation of new technical regulations for the shipping industry will also be discussed, with the panel set to share details of a newly-researched, in-depth competition analysis, alongside the issue of how to introduce best practices to maintain a continual updated diversity of improved ship repair services.
Gathering together the Middle East’s most influential industry leaders, this year’s conference programme will also include sessions on the role of new infrastructure developments such as rail in the region’s logistical mix, the growth and expansion of offshore projects, downstream investment in the Middle East and its impact on ship demand as well as the region’s prospects as a hub for bunkering.
Speakers already confirmed include HE Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman & Group CEO, Drydocks World and Maritime World; Dr Ali Obaid Al-Yabouni, CEO, ADNATCO-NGSCO; Saleh Al Jasser, CEO, BAHRI; Reynaldo Bench, Senior Shipping and Ports Specialist, East Asia and the Pacific, The World Bank; Bill Farren-Price, CEO, Petroleum Policy Intelligence; Dimitris Kostianis, Transport Strategy Advisor, Saudi Ports Authority;Jay New, Commercial Director, Gulftainer;Vivek Seth, CEO, Halul Offshore, Qatar; and Wayne Elliott, Co-Founder and Business Development Director, Marine Recycling Corporation.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai and now in its seventh biennial edition, Seatrade Middle East Maritime is the largest event in the regional calendar for the maritime industry with more than 8,000 participants from 67 countries expected to attend, following a record turnout in 2012. The event is an integral part of Dubai Maritime Week which runs concurrently.
“SMEM 2012 welcomed 7,065 attendees, 242 exhibiting companies from 33 countries and covered exhibition floor space totalling 4,338 square metres – a 7% increase on 2010,” added Hayman.