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Sea Asia 2009 kicks off with record turnout

Singapore: Sea Asia 2009 launches in Singapore today with a show which has bucked the economic recession.

Sea Asia 2009 has surpassed all expectations in terms of its size, the number of companies and individuals attending and the breadth of international support it has been able to gather.

The Sea Asia 2009 conference and exhibition, which starts at Singapore's Suntec City this morning,   poses 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?

The event 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 this morning 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?

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.

SMF chairman Mr SS Teo said today: "The positive response received for the show and the strong attendance for the conference speak for themselves. The Sea Asia 2009 exhibition is 60% larger than the inaugural show with 7 country pavilions. We have also successfully gathered over 68 speakers from 19 countries, participants from over 50 countries for the three-day event.

"When the world economy recovers, I am confident that the Asian powerhouses such as China and India will be among the first to bounce back and systemically stir up the global economy. Given our sound fundamentals and perseverance, pro-active government, close partnership between the private and public sectors and the experience gained from previous crisis, Singapore will be one of the first in the region to recover," he added.

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.  [21/04/09]


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