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Asia to the fore as Posidonia opens

Athens: The 22nd edition of Posidonia opens its doors today against a backdrop of foreign maritime investment in the beleaguered Greek economy that the show itself has helped foster.

Cosco Group recently unveiled 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. Middle East group Abu Dhabi MAR has also taken a 75% stake in Hellenic Shipyard, the Mediterranean's largest shipyard, to help it further expand its capacity and diversify its portfolio.

"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.  

Organisers 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% bigger than the 2008 event, a remarkable achievement considering the global economic downturn.

Nearly 10% of the total exhibition space has been allocated to Far Eastern companies, who have increased their combined Posidonia participation by 45% compared to the previous edition. China 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. An Indian national pavilion also makes its debut.[07/06/10]

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