“In Turkey we have very traditional shipowners that can adapt and change quickly and that will help us,” Kaptanoğlu said in a webinar on The Future of the Turkish Shipping Industry, moderated by Seatrade chairman Chris Hayman, that formed part of Informa Markets’ Digital Maritime Week.
“We are experts in handling crisis,” Kaptanoğlu continued, pointing out that shipping had been able to increase its share of Turkey’s international trade from 75% to 90% during the crisis “because it’s the safest and securest form of trading.”
Indeed, the country boasts a diverse range of maritime professions - including notably shipbuilding, maintenance and demolition - that have proved themselves to be historically resilient and make Turkey one of the main shipping centres of the Med region.
‘Shipbuilding and maintenance slipped badly after 2008,” admitted Kaptanoğlu, “but then bounced back” because of the country’s favourable geographical location and growing market demand for “sophisticated, green vessels” such as the ferries, tankers, tugboats and superyachts produced by Turkish yards.
The country’s shipping industry now looks forward with confidence to the next Expomaritt Exposhipping event, organised by Informa Markets with the support of the Turkish Chamber of Shipping, due to be held in Istanbul in April 2021.
“That is the shipping exhibition for us,” said Kaptanoğlu, who noted that the event had grown steadily with each edition, assembling some 216 exhibiting companies from 39 countries representing 765 brands and attracting over 6,000 visitors at its last outing in 2019.
‘You can never replace the human touch, the need for networking and to meet new people,” the BIMCO president concluded, at the same time paying tribute to the shipping industry’s “skillful and dynamic workforce” - including notably seafarers, “the hidden heroes of the pandemic.”
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