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One day to go: Sea Asia 2009 countdown

Singapore:  Sea Asia 2009 kicks off in Singapore tomorrow posing the big questions: Can the global shipping industry bounce back to the level of activity it experienced over the past few years? Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the world economy and the maritime sector? Can we see the green shoots of recovery in the shipping industry?

These are the big questions for speakers, delegates and exhibitors at Sea Asia 2009 - the maritime show which takes place at Suntec Singapore next week from 21 - 23 April - the event which has literally bucked the trend of gloom and doom now surrounding so much business activity around the world. The Guest of Honour for the event is Singapore's Senior Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security, Prof S. Jayakumar.

The timing of this major international maritime event could not be better. After almost 12 months which have been one of the most difficult times in the long cycle of the shipping market, the time has come for reflection on where the markets stand now. Is shipping set for a long period of slow growth, dogged by over capacity and sluggish demand? Will the markets simply have to correct after a period of unprecedented exuberance? Was that exuberance 'irrational' as a former head of the Federal Reserve once famously commented.

Or is the correction necessary and is it true we are already seeing real signs of rejuvenation? Led by the mega economies of China and India, will the shipping sector continue to power ahead after taking a short pause to catch its collective breath?

As we progress into the crucial second quarter of 2009, these questions are on the whole world's mind.

And they will be played out and discussed at Sea Asia 2009, the gathering which has quickly established itself as the leading maritime event in Asia, just two years since it was launched in 2007. Sea Asia 2009 will unite maritime industry players, and other related business leaders, from around the world to influence the direction Asian maritime economies will move in, and to discuss all opportunities for pulling the global shipping industry out of the doldrums and informing the markets about the sector's priorities during this global financial crisis.

"Sea Asia 2009 epitomises the camaraderie between the Singapore maritime players and the government, in particular, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The Singapore Maritime Foundation and our co-organiser, Seatrade have been working in tandem with these partners to orchestrate this mega maritime event. We are confident that Sea Asia 2009, which is an anchor event of Singapore Maritime Week 2009, will be a great success," said Mr David Chin, Executive Director, Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF).

Sea Asia 2009 features a major international exhibition exceeding 4,500 net square metres ?" 60% up on the previous event in 2007. Co-organisers Seatrade and the SMF are encouraged by the positive response from local and global companies not only participating but, in many cases, actually boosting their presence at this year's Sea Asia.

Seatrade Director Andrew Callaghan said: "As organisers, there was an initial concern that the depth of the recession would detract from Sea Asia. But both SMF and Seatrade are delighted by the response from all sectors of the shipping community.  Net exhibition space is 60% bigger than the inaugural event and participants at Sea Asia 2009 will come from over 50 countries, compared to 42 at the last show.

"It appears that the need to get out, network and meet people with the aim of discovering the latest views, news and information is very significant at the moment ?" perhaps even more so than during better times."

He added that Sea Asia 2009 serves as the perfect platform for all shipping professionals to get a rare insight from the industry leaders as to which way the markets may be heading.  Delegates will also be able to give their views and participate in the debate in more ways than one.  In addition to the normal Q&A session, this year's Opening Day conference sessions will be far more interactive.  Delegates will be given electronic voting handsets.  A series of questions relating to the individual market sectors will flash on the screen and delegates will be invited to respond digitally.  The information gathered will then be collated and used in the debate.

CEOs, shipping executives and professionals from over 50 countries will be participating at Sea Asia 2009.  More than 300 companies from the Asian region and beyond are confirmed to exhibit, presenting the latest technologies, products and services.

Of special interest at the Sea Asia 2009 exhibition will be the country pavilions in the exhibition, where visitors can learn about the maritime industries of China, Japan, Korea, Norway, Panama, Singapore and UK through representatives of equipment suppliers, shipping companies and service providers.  The China Pavilion has returned to Sea Asia 2009 with a net exhibition space of over 300 square metres which is three times bigger than its previous showing, representing a diverse range of companies and products from different provinces and areas of China.

On 23 April afternoon, Sea Asia 2009 will extend its reach beyond the maritime industry players, to the maritime students in Singapore. The Maritime Youth Day@Sea Asia is part of SMF's outreach programme to expose maritime students to the real maritime world.  Over 300 maritime students from various Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore will get to tour the Sea Asia 2009 Exhibition, interact with the international exhibitors and get a true sense of the depth and breadth of this exciting industry.

Sea Asia 2009 also provides extensive networking opportunities for participants wishing to forge new business relationships or re-establish existing ones.  Networking events include the GAC Sea Asia 2009 Golf Classic, cocktail receptions, delegate lunches in the exhibition hall and the Sea Asia 2009 Happy Hour where the signature Singapore Sling cocktail will be served by True Heritage Brew.  [20/04/09]


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