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Middle East looks to the Far East for opportunities

Dubai: The Middle East should prepare to capitalise on the world shipping industry's increasing focus on the East according to discussions at the Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) conference on Wednesday.
The 'Market Projections' session which opened the Money & Ships section of the conference was chaired by Fred Doll, managing director or Doll Shipping Consultancy, with high level industry experts accompanying him on the panel, including Nick Collins, COO of Clarksons, Dubai.
Collins' presentation on market projections into 2011/2012 highlighted a significant need for the Western shipping industry to focus its business strategy on the Middle East and further East.  He said: "World economic growth is estimated at around four percent by 2011/2012, with the Middle East even higher at around five percent, driven by the emerging economies, China, India, Brazil as well as the Middle East region.  From 2003 to 2009 there was an increase of from 56 percent to 69 percent of ships looking to the East and this growth is expected to continue.
"The region is absorbing fleet expansion from 2008 and the current order book is seeing ordering on a heroic scale, with not much cancellation but renegotiation of delivery dates.  Demand is mainly driven by China; in 2009 China imported 84 million tonnes more than in 2008 in raw commodities, such as iron ore and coal."
As Eastern countries such as China increase their influence on the world's shipping industry, companies from China have identified the power a Middle East presence can have to ensure their entry to the Western world. SMEM exhibitor, Shandong Weichai IMP.&EXP.CORP is one of the largest manufacturers  in China and having opened an on the ground presence in the UAE four years ago, the company has recently opened a further facility in Dubai in order to further its growth in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.
Chris Hayman, chairman of Seatrade, organisers of SMEM, said: "There was a real buzz on the show floor yesterday, with impressive first day visitor numbers that are up on 2008.  With 24 percent more exhibitors and the event covering approximately 9,000 sqm, 10%  larger, the exhibition reflects the optimistic outlook for shipping presented in the opening session of the Money & Ships conference, especially in this region and further East."
Today will see the final day of the conference, with sessions on influential maritime sectors Ports & Terminals, Offshore and Technology.  Speakers will include Mohamed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, UAE Region, DP World; Captain Feisal Ahmed Saad, port manager of Ras Laffan; and Fazel Fazelbhoy, CEO of Topaz Energy & Marine.  The exhibition will run until 28 October at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. [28/10/10]

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