By Daniel Canty
Major players from the regional and international maritime industry gather at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The fifth edition of the Gulf Maritime exhibition got under way today at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The three-day exhibition is hosting 110 exhibitors from 20 countries. The first national pavilion from Romania caps a strong European component to this year's show.
"The regional maritime sector is currently experiencing phenomenal growth," said Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the opening ceremony. "The growth in the regional maritime sector has opened a plethora of opportunities for global marine companies. The exhibition is intended to give these companies a firm foothold in the region."
Back for the second year running are Abu Dhabi-based engine specialists Al Masaood. "This year we've stepped up our presence because of a successful show last year. It's rare, but at the 2006 exhibition, a customer walked up to the stand and placed an order for two 2500hp engines there and then," said Amgad Emil, sales manager, Al Masaood. "The marine side of the business is really booming, and although there are a few industry shows, we approach each one with a slightly different strategy to get the best of the audience," he explained.
Exhibiting for the first time, Geert Mosterdijk, managing director of Sea Darq, said the event was an ideal opportunity to showcase new products. "We are here to promote a revolutionary new radar-based system, designed to aid the clear-up mission in the event of oil spillage. Regional authorities and oil companies are acutely aware of the need to diagnose the problem in a timely fashion, and what we are demonstrating is a leap forward in managing oil spills."
Many exhibitors are returning to the show for the fourth or fifth time, including Bahrain's principal shipbuilding and repair firm, Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (ASRY). "This is the fourth time we've exhibited, and it's important to meet new customers, but we've been in business 30 years, so really this is a better opportunity for us to meet our suppliers, and cement ongoing relationships," explained Jamal Al Samahiji, head of marketing at ASRY. "We'll be promoting the fact that we're diversifying our operations more towards newbuilds in the future, and with two new slipways under construction, we'll be able to service more vessels in the future."
The event occupies an area in excess of 4000m
and is being held under the patronage of Sharjah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi. The variety of products being exhibited this year includes a strong showing of deck machinery, docking equipment, engine and propulsion systems, fuels and lubricants, and is sure to draw impressive numbers from the region's shipping and port community.