Dubai: A $2.5 billion training facility has been planned for the maritime and shipping industry professionals in the GCC. The facility, to be headquartered in Saudi Arabia, will be launched soon, it was revealed yesterday. Saudi Aramco industrial services executive director Amer Al Sulaim said the $2.5 billion company-backed project, Arabian Gulf Ports Association (AGPA), will ensure there are enough people to take care of the needs of the rapidly expanding maritime industry in the region in the next few years.?'We are excited at the prospect and are hoping it would provide the necessary impetus to the industry,' he said during a keynote speech at the opening of the three-day Workboat Gulf Exhibition and Conference at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.?'While the industry is expanding, there are not yet enough facilities available or the expertise to handle such an expansion. That is why we have to have such a project that will involve expertise from all the Gulf states.'?He said Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in particular, have been the 'pillars' of the maritime industry in the GCC. The speech and indeed the cash injection were seen by some as a swipe against Dubai which has spent itself to a standstill in recent months, with much concern centred around the timing for completion of Dubai Maritime City. ?'These both nations have seen the most rapid growth so they are the most important members of this project.'?He said expertise from the other GCC states is also of vital importance and is needed for the successful implementation of the project. [08/04/09]?
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