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Maritime show shrugs off downturn

Abu Dhabi: The region's premier maritime event for specialised vessels concluded this week, shrugging off the impact of the economic downturn with a 70% increase in the number of exhibitors and a 60% increase in exhibition space compared with last year, according to the organisers.

"We are delighted to report that our 2009 show is bigger and better than last year, despite the global slowdown," said Christopher Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, organisers of Middle East Workboats, which ran from 5 - 7 October at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). "It is a powerful sign of the continuing growth in the offshore marine support sector in the region," he added.

Workboats include tugs, ferries, supply vessels; police, fire, patrol, pilot, rescue and oil spill boats; along with, dredgers, barges and floating cranes. More than 2,000 such vessels are estimated to be docked or repaired in the Middle East.

The Middle East Workboats exhibition and conference - now in its second year -  is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Public Works and Chairman of the National Transport Authority. He has described the event as "an important platform for the industry" in light of the large number of marine projects including new islands, gas and oil operations requiring marine transport and related services.

More than 170 exhibitors took part - a 70% increase compared with 2008, Seatrade said in a statement. They came from 25 countries - a 5% increase on 2008 - and took  60% more exhibition space than last year

Over at the Middle East Workboats conference delegates heard cautious news. "The majority of Middle East companies will see a satisfactory 2009 but 2010 is far more uncertain," said Geir Sjurseth, Managing Director and Global Head of Offshore for DVB Bank. "The well-established players that survive will have a fantastic future," he said. "The strong companies, and there are many in the Middle East, will preserve capital, cut costs and the smartest guys are planning how to benefit in the longer term. When the dust finally settles, the outlook is favourable but before that we will likely see defaults and consolidation among highly leveraged, recent entrants in the market."  [08/10/09]


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