Many veteran attendees of the show have seen it all before, however. They experienced earlier troughs in the market when people were more eager than ever to meet up, discuss prospects and try to collectively forge a way ahead.
And here in Greece especially, periods of entrenched negative sentiment often have been blown away suddenly by a burst of activity from Greek ship owners on the sale & purchase or newbuild front.
“Shipping cycles are for analysts and corporate accountants,” one old hand confided to Seatrade Maritime News. “Greek shipowners look forwards to the future, not backwards to the past.”
Others suggested that an upbeat show like this week’s Posidonia could itself prove a turning point, injecting a note of optimism that could begin to reverse sentiment.
Certainly there was no shortage of positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike.
“I’m surprised the general atmosphere is so good, I was expecting it to be gloomy, but the vibe is good with the accent on information,” said C Dean Tseretopoulos, board director of QACE.
“My first Posidonia was in 1974 and this time I think there are more shipyard people and their representatives than ever. There are a lot of specialists so you can get real information,” observed George D Areteos of G.D. Areteos & Associates, Marine Technical Bureau.
“I’ve been to three conferences and though the topics have been much discussed, a lot of new information was given,” agreed Panos Zachariadis, technical director of Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management.
"We've had a lot of really positive traffic from customers and partners and really good dialogues all week; it's been fantastic, observed Brian Pemberton, Iridium vp & general manger of aviation & maritime business.
"We are happy to be here to participate and meet our existing and potential clients," said DDW-PaxOcean Shipyard senior commercial manager Terry Wong.
"The show has been fine for us,” echoed the chief assistant registrar of the Hong Kong Marine Department, noting that on the first two days in particular their stand in Hall 1 recorded heavy visitor traffic.
"We were very impressed,” commented Andrew Pye, technical manager environmental solutions Andrew Trumble. ‘There was good attendance with many shipowners here and a lot of interest shown in ballast water management in particular."
Perhaps the simplest and most heartfelt remark came from Vincent Li, overseas project manager of SunRui Marine Environment Engineering, who said simply “It’s a wonderful place to meet old friends.”
There’s no way to quantify camaraderie in market analysis, but it’s an ever present emotion in life at sea - the one constant in an industry where, as a leading Greek owner observed in the conference this week, the “stability lies in instability”.